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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, April 3, 2020

McDonald puzzle pic

Above is the latest McDonald puzzle to be completed. We, like many families, have been spending added time together working on puzzles and enjoying other activities during this Stay at Home Order. The memories we are making won’t soon be forgotten, that’s for sure.


I hope this letter finds your health and spirit strong as we continue working together to get through this COVID-19 outbreak.

While so much of what we read and hear these days is heavy news regarding the latest coronavirus tallies and tolls it is taking on our global society, I would like to take a moment to celebrate all the folks who are rising above the call of duty. Our health care workers, law enforcement officials, food suppliers, truckers and beyond all deserve to be thanked. Hats off to parents and educators who have been facilitating our children’s education from home as schools adopt distance-learning procedures.

I also would like to recognize the everyday citizens who have performed simple acts of kindness to brighten people’s day. From paper hearts tacked to windows to driveway messages written with sidewalk chalk, these seemingly small gestures can have big impacts to friends and neighbors.

This outbreak is presenting challenges most of us have never seen but, once again, we will see this through and will be stronger for it with a whole new set of ties that bind.

As for more official legislative work, my focus remains on helping the people of District 29A any way I can. Here are some points of information I help you will find useful:

Business program guide

I continue receiving questions from small-business owners who need help and advice during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here is a guide from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development with good information about what’s available at the state and federal levels.

Unemployment insurance


This outbreak is coming with great consequences for workers and business owners. If you have issues with your unemployment insurance application, or questions about whether your business is eligible for a program, please contact DEED using the resources available on their website for the fastest and most accurate answers. You can visit this website to learn more about the Unemployment Insurance Program. For questions about whether you qualify for UI, how to apply and the process, please visit here. In addition, programs passed by the federal government may not yet be available — please keep checking the federal program websites for updates.


Wednesday was Census Day and I encourage you to complete the Census soon, if you haven’t already done so.

You can respond online now at or call 844-330-2020. The Census Bureau also will mail a paper questionnaire to households in mid-April that have not responded online or by phone.

Your responses matter and the data collected will help determine where billions in federal funds are spent and how our representation in government is allocated. For example, the results will inform how federal dollars are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. 

Visit these links for more information:

Gun stores are open

Guns open

Gun control groups have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to close gun stores and prevent citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights and protecting their families. Fortunately, legislation House Republicans led to enactment in 2015 stipulates gun stores can remain open, and government is prohibited from seizing guns during a state of emergency.

Abortion letter

It is highly concerning that Gov. Tim Walz is allowing abortions to continue despite issuing Executive Order 20-09 to postpone all elective surgeries and procedures statewide as we fight COVID-19. I joined fellow House Republicans in sending a letter to the governor to address this issue. All we are asking is for the governor apply his executive order consistently. We can’t, on one hand, force procedures to be delayed for cancer patients, for example, potentially causing added discomfort and declining health, while it’s all systems go over at the abortion clinics. Furthermore, health care resources such as personal protective equipment are in precious demand. Our doctors and nurses who are leading the fight against COVID-19 should be our top priority to receive them.

Ag. Workers and COVID-19

Planting season is approaching and I am watching closely to see what impacts COVID-19 has on the agriculture industry. We have a relatively brief window to get our planting done and need to do our best to make sure our chain of various supplies and services are intact so farmers can keep doing their work to provide the rest of us with food. Here is a Preparing for sick agricultural workers and COVID-19 document from the Minnesota Department of Health. Farmers already were going through tough times before the COVID-19 outbreak and here is a link with information from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture regarding resources for coping with farm and rural stress.

Watch for more news as things evolve. After returning to the Capitol for one day last week to discuss a bill we approved with measures to help fight this outbreak, the Legislature continues working from home on an on-call basis. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.



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