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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Nathan Nelson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Nathan Nelson

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Friends,

This week, Governor Walz announced a "Stay at Home" executive order. The governor also took executive action to extend closures for bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations until May 1, and continued remote learning for schools until May 4.

The "Stay at Home" order runs two weeks and puts limits on movement outside homes beyond essential trips. It takes effect tonight - Friday, March 27 at 11:59PM - and is set to end Friday, April 10.

The governor has indicated the goal is to delay the "peak" in total cases to allow Minnesota to improve hospital and ICU capacity, while also stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinics and hospital workers. Numbers show the survival rate for severe cases is 10 times higher when patients have the required ICU care.

The order permits Minnesotans to leave their homes to perform the following activities: health/safety activities, outdoor activities, purchasing necessary supplies and services like groceries and medicine, essential and interstate travel, care of others, displacement, and relocation to ensure safety. This list does not include every exception, and social distancing should still be practiced while doing any of these activities.

Workers who provide critical services are also exempt for the purposes of traveling to their jobs. Some of these occupations include: healthcare and public health; law enforcement, public safety, and first responders; childcare, food, and agriculture; news media; energy, water and wastewater; and critical manufacturing. This is not an all-encompassing list, and you can visit for additional guidance. There is also a state email address that businesses can contact if they have questions:

If your business is currently considered non-essential, you can submit a request for an exemption from the "Stay at Home" order. Requests can be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development here

I understand many of you have questions about what this means for your businesses and everyday lives. Check out the following link for the governor’s full order, which explains the details and provides answers to many of the questions you likely have: You can also contact my office and I will do my best to get you the answers you’re looking for.

COVID-19 Response Legislation

Legislators at the state and federal levels have been working to provide assistance to families and businesses. Thursday, the legislature was called to St. Paul to pass additional COVID-19 emergency response legislation. The package of bills was remotely put together by lawmakers - from both parties and both legislative bodies - over the last week in order to continue the state's pandemic response efforts. The legislation was passed nearly unanimously in the House and Senate Thursday afternoon and will soon be signed by the governor. 

The legislation authorizes up to $330.6 million in funding to provide financial support for workers, businesses, and students being negatively impacted by emergency measures imposed to contain COVID-19. The package also includes multiple sunsets, reporting requirements, guardrails, and other accountability measures. This bill will help every Minnesotan and provides needed flexibility and assistance to small businesses and their employees, childcare providers, veterans, farmers, and many others.

In these difficult times, I’m glad legislators came together to provide this emergency aid and help protect Minnesotans from this outbreak. I believe this action will help ensure Minnesota has the necessary resources to continue responding to this outbreak and help those who are struggling and facing uncertainty. I will continue working on issues that arise in our community and will be ready to address them when the legislature needs to take additional action in the coming weeks and months.

Finally, the House adopted a new rule yesterday to allow committees and the entire body to meet and vote remotely by electronic means. This rule can only be used under extreme circumstances like the ones we currently face, and will allow legislators to better continue legislative operations while following health and safety guidelines.