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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 14, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

We are in the final days of what has become an unconventional legislative session, with the Minnesota House set to adjourn on Monday, May 18. While Monday marks the end of the normal legislative session, it’s likely we will meet in a special session to further address issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the latest:



Yesterday, Governor Walz announced that the current stay at home order will expire as planned on Monday, May 18th. The order will be replaced with a new one allowing for more businesses to reopen as they meet public health parameters. Minnesotans will be able to gather in groups of 10 people or less with social distancing and retail stores and main street businesses can open, provided they have a safety plan. Restaurants, bars, salons, gyms and larger events will remain closed until at least June 1st.

The Governor’s “Stay Safe” order also includes 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.

Although the Governor is slowly “turning the dials,” COVID-19 remains a clear and present danger to the public health. You can do your part by staying home if you’re able, practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask, especially when you are in public settings like the grocery store.


Building Economic Security

Last week, we passed a package of legislation that incorporates several important economic measures that my colleagues and I in the DFL House have been working on. COVID-19 hasn’t only brought new problems, it’s also exposed the inequities that had already existed in our communities. The bill includes a temporary wage increase for personal care assistants (PCA), funding to expand broadband internet access, and small business loans. 

A provision I worked on in this bill would deliver additional housing assistance to those Minnesotans that are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage during the pandemic, through no fault of their own. We can’t expect Minnesotans to stay safe in their homes when they can’t afford the roof over their head. 

House Economic Agenda

Safe and Secure Elections

It’s hard to say what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like this summer and fall, but it is important to know that you can choose to vote safely in your own home for the August primary and November general elections. The Minnesota Secretary of State is making a new tool available for registered voters to request that their ballot be sent to them by mail for the August 11 statewide primary and/or the November 3 general election. You can request an absentee ballot here.

Coming into 2020, we knew we would have to take steps to ensure this year’s elections were secure from interference. Federal funds were allocated to Minnesota for this purpose, and in addition to improving accessibility and modernizing election security, funds were also made available to better ensure the health and safety of election officials and in-person voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Minnesota House, we voted to make sure these funds are being put to good use. You can read more about that bill here


Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Things are going to be moving very fast over the next couple of days. Great ways to stay in the loop include following my State Representative Michael Howard Facebook Page and the House Public Information Webpage. You can read up on the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and our new ban on TCE, a cancer-causing chemical. 

Please feel free to continue to reach out to me with any questions or comments you have. You can reach me at or (651) 296-7158. We’re going to get through this together, and your input is greatly appreciated. 

In partnership,


Michael Howard