State Legislature Passes COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Bill Requested By The Governor
In its first time meeting since March 16, the Minnesota Legislature passed a COVID-19 response bill this afternoon. The Governor is expected to sign the bill yet today.
Below are key points in the bill that may be of interest to retailers:
- Creation of a $200 million COVID-19 Minnesota Fund for use as directed by Commissioner of Management and Budget with the fund expiring May 11, 2020.
- Oversight of the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund by a Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission made up of leadership and specific committee chairs.
- Funding and policy changes to the State unemployment insurance program authorized in Executive Order 20-05 and allowing no-delay access to unemployment benefit, waiver of the five week business owner benefit limit, and stipulation that related claims will not impact an employer's future premiums.
- Funding and policy to support Executive Order 20-15, making small business loans available to impacted organizations, including $20 million to a special revenue account, and $10 million to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program for loans made through state economic development partners.
- Authorization allowing certain local government revolving loan funds to be used for small business relief under Executive Order 20-15.
- Authorization for the Commissioner of Commerce to delay, investigate and waive licenses during the peacetime emergency declaration.
- Extending drivers licenses that may have expired during the peacetime emergency declaration, and easing REAL ID requirements.
- Elimination of opioid prescription refill language passed last year and modification of related fees charged to oxygen supply companies.
- Authorization of grants to childcare providers serving families of emergency workers.
- Funding for food shelves and housing.
MnRA thanks the Legislature for this bill and its focus on bridging loans for retailers and relief for Minnesota's workforce.