Thanks to all who joined the virtual Chat with Dave & Kaohly on Sunday. It seemed to go well, and we will look for other opportunities in the future. If you weren’t able to join us, a video of our conversation is available here.
COVID-19 Assistance Bill
Yesterday, the Minnesota House and Senate passed legislation to help protect Minnesotans’ health and economic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, including emergency loans for small businesses, support for food shelves, and funding for housing security. More details are available here. The bill included funding that I championed to help ensure that child care providers can remain open and providing critically-needed care; you can read my statement about it here.
While this legislation will alleviate some of the challenges that Minnesotans are facing, I was deeply disappointed that the Minnesota Senate blocked several badly-needed provisions, including workers compensation for health and public safety workers, support for hourly workers at Minnesota schools, and rental assistance. We’ll need to address these issues and many more in the coming days, weeks, and months.
It’s critical that we all do everything that we can to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and increase the capacity of our health care system to respond. On Wednesday, Governor Walz issued an executive order (linked here) directing Minnesotans to stay at home as much as possible. The Governor provided a clear and direct explanation of the order and the reasoning behind it; you can watch the video here.
The order takes effect today (Friday) at 11:59pm and ends on April 10 at 5:00pm. Under the order, you can still leave your home for essential activities like buying groceries, seeking medical care, and exercising, but must continue to keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others. You also shouldn’t go to work unless you work in critical sectors that are exempt from the stay at home order. Resources to help you determine if you’re eligible for an exemption are available here. More information about the stay at home order is available here.
Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
I’ve heard from many small businesses with understandable concerns about the impact of the pandemic and the response. Minnesota small businesses and non-profits are now eligible for loans from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). The federal agency is accepting applications for low-interest loans of up to $2 million. Click here for more information about the loan program and how to apply.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will be offering loans between $2,500 and $35,000 through the Small Business Emergency Loan program. Information about this new program is available here.
To #StayHomeMN requires having a home in the first place. The emergency relief package approved yesterday contained some support for those experiencing homelessness. But again, I was disappointed by the omission of assistance for those renting their homes – assistance that had been agreed-upon by a large coalition, including tenants and landlords alike.
Still, those who have a home will be able to remain in place during the pandemic. On Monday, Governor Walz announced the temporary suspension of all evictions due to failure to pay rent, starting on March 24. All foreclosure proceedings and related evictions have been halted as well. Note that this executive order (20-14, linked here) does not cancel rent or mortgage payments.
MNsure Special Enrollment Period
All Minnesotans deserve access to health care, and that’s especially important now. MNsure has launched a special enrollment period for Minnesotans who are currently without health insurance. The special enrollment period began on March 23 and runs through April 21, giving qualified individuals 30 days to enroll in health coverage through MNsure.org. You can call (651) 539-2009 or (855) 366-7873 with questions about enrollment or eligibility or click here to get free help from a MNsure expert assister.
Tax Filing Deadline Extended
The Minnesota Department of Revenue recently announced that the state income tax filing deadline has been extended. Minnesotans now have until July 15 to file their returns without any penalties or interest. The deadline for filing federal tax returns was pushed back to July 15 as well. More information is available here.
Please continue sharing your questions, feedback, and suggestions. Thank you for the honor of serving you during these challenging times.
State Representative, District 64B
439 State Office Building
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