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Legislative Update - March 18, 2020

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors,

We’ve experienced many changes in quick succession in just the last few days, to say nothing of the past week. I know these are challenging and uncertain times, but the way our community has joined together to weather this storm has been an immense source of pride and hope.

We’ve been working around the clock at the State Capitol to make sure Minnesota remains responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic. New laws and orders from Governor Walz are positioning Minnesota to remain strong, both during and after this virus.

The latest from St. Paul:


Emergency Support for Health Care

In the early hours of Tuesday, the Minnesota House and Senate passed our latest bill in response to the coronavirus. The bill, now law, allocates $200 million toward an emergency and long-term grant program, designed to respond to the needs of health care and long-term care facilities.

The funds could be used to help plan, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 in a range of ways, including:

  • the establishment and operation of temporary sites to provide testing services, treatment beds, or to isolate or quarantine affected people
  • staff overtime, the hiring of additional staff, and training or orientation
  • expenses related to the isolation or quarantine of staff

You can read more about these new investments here.


Restricting Restaurants, Closing Venues

Starting yesterday, businesses open to the public shut their doors in Minnesota, including restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, museums, and many others. Thousands of Minnesotans are now living with either reduced hours, or a lack of dependable income. This is a tough, but necessary pill to swallow, and highlights what’s at stake for us to take this epidemic seriously. To those whose employment has been impacted by these measures, I highly encourage you to look into Minnesota’s unemployment benefits, which you can find and apply for here.

It should be noted that many restaurants are able to continue business through take-out or drive-thru methods. If you’re able, consider supporting a local business for dinner sometime this week.


Stay Informed

A reminder that the best source of accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19 in the state is the Minnesota Department of Health, who just released several informational documents on the coronavirus in various languages:

COVID-19 in Amharic (PDF)

COVID-19 in Arabic (PDF)

COVID-19 in Chinese (PDF)

COVID-19 in Hmong (PDF)

COVID-19 in Karen (PDF)

COVID-19 in Russian (PDF)

COVID-19 in Somali (PDF)

COVID-19 in Spanish (PDF)

COVID-19 in Vietnamese (PDF)  


MDH has also set up non-English versions of its coronavirus website. A full list of available languages and links to each page is available below. 





The best way to touch base with me these days will be through phone, (651) 296-7158, or email, Feel free to also follow along on Facebook. I’m happy to help answer any questions on our efforts at the Minnesota Legislature.

Lastly, again, thank you to everyone that continues to work to keep Minnesota strong.

Be kind to one another (from a distance) and wash your hands.


In partnership,

Michael Howard