Since both the Minnesota House and Senate began allowing lawmakers to vote remotely, being “present” doesn’t require the 201 members to be, well, present.
An unemployment benefit bump makes up the largest amount of money, though there is also funds for rental assistance, public schools, higher education, child care, COVID testing, vaccination programs, transit and highways.
A heated media forum Monday with the governor and the four legislative leaders featured a back and forth about the invasion of the U.S. Capitol and whether lawmakers’ rhetoric contributed to it. But it was sometimes hard to distinguish between anger over the attack and frustration over the state’s response to COVID-19.
Walz had been on the teleconference for more than 20 minutes before he spoke. When he did, he unloaded. “How do we find common ground when we have people who won’t say the election was fair?” Walz asked.
Among other reforms, one proposal would require lobbyists — and groups that hire them — to say how much they spend on television or radio ads advocating for or against particular legislation.
The bad news: Minnesota lawmakers will once again be sequestered from the public unless they venture out beyond the chain-link fence that now surrounds the Capitol. The good news? Parking shouldn’t be a problem.
As much as COVID-19 and the homicide of George Floyd dominated government and politics in 2020, there were other stories that seemed important at the time — and will likely return to prominence after the pandemic is over.
State and local governments didn’t get a hoped-for second infusion of money in the $900 billion COVID relief package passed by Congress earlier this week, but they did get word that they didn’t have to spend CARES Act money within the calendar year.
About $2.4 billion of that money came from the state system, with the rest coming from federal contributions adopted in response to the economic fallout from COVID-19.
A Q&A with Alice Roberts-Davis, who oversees Minnesota’s Critical Care Supplies Working Group.
Among other things, the bill will provide the state with a share of $25 billion for rental assistance. Missing, however, is any direct aid to state and city governments.
Though the severity of the pandemic has shown signs of lessening in recent weeks, there are still high rates of COVID-19 test positivity, signaling that the outbreak hasn’t receded to levels seen over the summer.
Meanwhile, the legislation — which passed late Monday night — did not include a proposal to provide one-time $500 checks to those in the Minnesota Family Investment Program, which provides assistance to low-income families with children.
Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders have pledged to come up with a bill to help bars, restaurants and other businesses closed in the latest pandemic shutdowns.
The data needed to draw political districts is supposed to be delivered by the Census Bureau by April 1.
The plan was to use $100 million of Minnesota’s federal CARES Act money to pay for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program.
Welcome to the world of economic forecasting in the midst of a global pandemic.
State officials released the latest forecast for revenue and spending on Tuesday, and it offered better news for a governor and state Legislature seeking ways to help those hurt by the latest pandemic-related closures.
In its appeal, the ACLU restates its claim that voting is a fundamental right — and that the state has not provided a rational reason for denying that right to those who’ve been released from incarceration.
Whether the proposals will lead to actual legislation is unclear, but both sides were hopeful that a special session to hammer out a deal could be held as early as next week.