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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL)

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COVID-19 Update: Taking Action

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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Rep. Hassan

Dear Neighbors,

These next few weeks will be trying times for many of us, but by following the advice of our health professionals and elected officials we will be able to make this process as painless as possible. Minnesota leadership is taking the actions needed to slow the spread of COVID-19, and now each and every one of us must do our part in this collective effort to save lives. 

Early this morning the House moved to adjourn until April 14th, but not before we voted to set aside emergency funding for a COVID response. The House and Senate will meet in floor and committee sessions on an on-call basis through April 14. During this time period, the Legislature will only take up legislation on the House and Senate floors by agreement of the House DFL, House GOP, Senate DFL and Senate GOP caucus leaders.

School Cancellations

On Sunday, March 15, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-02, authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 to accommodate this planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of healthcare professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job. It also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need. You can watch the full statements of Gov. Walz and the Department of Education Commissioner Ricker here.


Emergency COVID-19 investment in health care system

We stayed up past midnight last night to pass SF 4334, providing $200 million in investments for the health care response fund and Minnesota’s public health response contingency account. Above all we have a duty to provide our health care system with everything it needs to get us through this safely. The bill provides $150 million to the Minnesota Department of Health to make grants to eligible providers for costs related to managing COVID-19. As a condition of accepting a grant, the provider must agree not to bill uninsured patients for the cost of COVID-19 screening, testing, or treatment. If a patient is out-of-network, the provider must agree to accept the median network rate as payment in full. The additional $50 million is appropriated to the public health response contingency account, which allows MDH to make flexible payments throughout our healthcare system where needed.

Governor signs orders temporarily closing certain public spaces & improving Minnesota’s unemployment insurance

Late yesterday, Gov. Walz signed Executive Order 20-04 to order the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers. He also ordered the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs. Take-out and drive-thru options are still available.

Gov. Walz also signed Executive Order 20-05 to strengthen Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensure that workers who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available. Specifically, this Executive Order will waive the employer surcharge and allow the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to pay unemployment benefits immediately, providing fast relief to employees who need it. If your employment has been affected by COVID-19 please visit this site. Any other questions should be directed at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development at 651-259-7114, 800-657-3858 or

Help prevent the spread

One term we should all get more familiar with is “social distancing.” This is the practice of intentional isolation to reduce the overall level of contact between people and thus reduce opportunities for COVID-19 to spread. What this means for you and me is avoid attending events with 250 or more people, avoid going to crowded bars or restaurants, when you must go out in public do your best to stay at least 6 feet away from others. It is also encouraged to work from home if at all possible. You can read about other strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 at the MDH website. The more we isolate ourselves now the sooner we will be able to return to normalcy.

MDH has set up a public hotline that will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 651-201-3920. You can also visit for up-to-date and accurate information about what Minnesota is doing to prepare for and stop the spread of COVID-19.


Additional Important Information

  • For any child care question please reach out to the Minnesota Department of Education School and child care questions: Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily) Visit Child care providers can visit the Minnesota department of Health for more info, here.
  • Here is a link to the Southside Mutual Aid spreadsheet where our community is coming together to help one another out. There are sections for requests, offers, and ideas. Please add what you can.
  • Minneapolis has suspended water shut offs while the pandemic persists, you can call 311 for more information.
  • While schools are required to provide meals you may need additional assistance. Here is a helpful list of Minneapolis restaurants that are providing some sort of food assistance for students.What's there is in the form I want it. 
  • Here is a list of various other resources that may be of help to you. Keep in mind that as we move forward some of this information may change. I will do my best to keep you updated.

Keep in touch

If you have friends, neighbors, or co-workers who might be interested in subscribing to this newsletter, they can do so here, and follow me on Facebook here. I’m grateful for the honor of serving you and our community. Please, now more than ever feel free to reach out to my office

Rep. Hodan Hassan,

531 State Office Building
(651) 296-0294