Yesterday, the application system for the Frontline Worker Bonuses (otherwise known as Hero Pay) went live. This session, House Democrats successfully fought for a $500 million investment in these bonuses, which will go out to the Minnesotans who kept our state running during the darkest days of the pandemic. You can find more information here. The application period will be open through July 22, closing at 5pm. It is not a first-come first-served basis.
After processing and verification of the applications, as well as a 15-day period for denied applicants to contest those decisions, the final list of eligible applicants will be determined. Each eligible applicant will be provided with an equal payment. All applications will move through the process at the same time and payments will be forwarded for processing together.
The end of session?
The regular 2022 legislative session was constitutionally required to end on Monday, May 23. Despite a broad bipartisan agreement on the framework of our remaining budget bills that would direct roughly $4 billion in tax cuts and $4 billion in needed investments in education, health care, public safety and housing, we were unable to pass the majority of the bills.
Why? Ultimately, Senate Republicans refused to compromise and preferred to end the session with nothing if it meant even the slightest bit of compromise. This “my way or the highway” style of politics does not serve Minnesotans well. With a $9.2 billion surplus, and rising costs for Minnesota families, I join my House colleagues and Governor Walz in calling on Senate Republicans to not simply take their ball and go home. We have unfinished business and it’s vital that we return in a special session, negotiated in good faith, and deliver for the people of Minnesota.
Too much is at stake. We are on the one yard line on a number of bills, including legislation to deliver mental health resources to our schools, a historic package of tax cuts, funding for healthcare, urgent investments in public safety, and a package of capital investments to strengthen statewide infrastructure in communities across the state. We can’t afford to leave these proposals and the needs of Minnesotans in limbo. Let’s get it done.
Gun violence Reform Needed
Overshadowing the final days of the legislative session was another unspeakable tragedy that took place in Uvalde, Texas. It wasn’t that long ago that Richfield was reeling from our own shooting that took place outside the South Education Center, an incident that has since been added to a long list of shootings that have resulted in dead children.
As I dropped off my son off at school last week, I couldn’t help but think of the 19 parents in Uvalde who did so for the last time. I know many of you are walking around with the same grief over this unrelenting cycle of violence, but we must remain committed to the belief that it doesn’t have to be this way, that WE have the power to make the necessary change.
Minnesota needs to join the list of states - including those controlled by Republicans - that have enacted common sense gun safety measures like red flag laws and stronger background checks. We need to start treating gun violence like the public health and safety crisis it is. We need to fight against apathy and refuse to accept this as normal - because gun violence now being the leading cause of death for our children should be horrendously abnormal.