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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)

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End of Session Wrap-up

Friday, May 22, 2020

Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn

Dear Neighbors, 

Late Sunday night, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned sine die for the year. The Minnesota Constitution requires us to adjourn by May 18, so while this was our technical end date, it’s likely we will meet again soon to continue addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and other unfinished business concerning economic support for Minnesotans. 

Following the success of our May 13 virtual Senate District 48 Town Hall (which you can watch here), I’ll be joined by Sen. Cwodzinski and Rep. Pryor for another one on Wednesday, June 10, at 7:30pm. You can submit questions ahead of time here, and you’ll be able to watch it live on my Facebook page. I’ll keep you posted on more information as we get closer to the event.

Session Adjourned

This legislative session, like in many of our lives, we had to quickly adapt at the onset of the virus in our state. I’m proud my colleagues and I came together in a bipartisan fashion to deliver the immediate and necessary resources for our public health professionals to prepare for COVID-19, as well as an initial package of legislation delivering resources for health care workers, aid for child care, housing and food security measures, small business assistance and more. We also worked quickly to ensure frontline first responders receive workers’ compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19.

In addition to our COVID-related legislation, we also passed the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections, and legislation I co-authored like the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, and the Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth smoking. My consumer protection and money transmission modernization bill also passed through the MN Senate unanimously and through the House 132-1. While I’m proud of the work we were able to accomplish during these unprecedented circumstances, we still have work to do. 


Next Steps

Usually at this point in the legislative calendar, my colleagues and I would be done for the year. But for multiple reasons, there’s been a lot of talk about a potential June special session. First, Governor Walz has announced that he will seek legislative approval to extend the peacetime state of emergency. The current iteration of the state of emergency expires on June 12.

Additionally, with low interest rates and a dire need to stimulate Minnesota’s economy, conversations continue on a potential Jobs and Local Projects (or Bonding) Bill. This is one of many bills aimed at delivering economic security and resources to Minnesotans being discussed. While there’s a lot of uncertainty on what the future holds, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. 


Stay Safe Minnesota

Minnesota’s “Stay at Home” order expired this past Monday, replaced with a new one allowing for more flexibility for our businesses to reopen as they meet public health parameters. The new “Stay Safe” order allows Minnesotans to gather in groups of 10 people or less with retail stores able to open at 50% capacity with public health guidelines. The Governor’s “Stay Safe” order also includes important protections for workers concerned about returning to work safely. It allows workers to raise concerns without fear of retaliation from their employers. Guidance for businesses and employees is available here.

Governor Walz also announced this week that bars and restaurants would be able to open patios and other forms of outdoor service at reduced capacity starting on June 1. Salons and barbershops will be able to reopen and operate at 25 percent occupancy. All customers will be strongly encouraged or required to wear masks, make reservations, and follow social distancing practices to keep themselves, other customers, and employees safe. You can find more information about the various phases of the Stay Safe Plan here.

June 1

In case you missed it, Eden Prairie mayor Ron Case sent out a community update letter regarding local playgrounds, beaches, and other community hubs. You can find the letter here.

While the lifted restrictions are a relief to many, it’s important to remember that the pandemic continues and the measures we’ve been practicing for the past few months remain critical to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy. This remains a difficult time for local businesses, and though we’re now able to support them in different ways, we need to remain mindful of public health.


Memorial Day Services

I wish you and your family an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. While you take some time to relax and have some fun, I also hope you’ll set aside some time to reflect on the servicemembers who didn’t come home, and gave their lives for this country. While we can never repay them and their families for their commitment to our country, we should all honor their bravery and sacrifice.

Memorial Day

Instead of in-person programs this year, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring a Virtual Memorial Day Program. TPT has created a 30-minute Memorial Day program entitled “Always Remember: A Minnesota Tribute to Veterans We’ve Lost,” that will be broadcast across the state on TPT’s Minnesota Channel on Monday at 7:30 p.m. and live streamed onTPT’s website.


Stay Connected

Minnesota’s COVID-19 Dashboard remains the best source for accurate, updated information. House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced the formation of a Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding to explore the pandemic’s impacts and address any issues that may arise, which had its first meeting this week. You can follow the committee’s work here

There’s a lot we don’t know about the status of our future legislative work right now, but I’ll continue to update you as I learn more. Please feel free to continue to reach out to me with any questions or comments you have on our accomplishments this session, or what the future holds. You can email me at or leave a voicemail at (651) 296-7449. Please be sure to follow along on Facebook, too! I always look forward to hearing from you.

Be well! We’re all in this together.



Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn