Minnesota House, Senate pass $330M COVID-19 response bill
The Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate both passed a $330 million bill authorizing more funding for the state to combat COVID-19 Thursday afternoon. It passed in the House by a vote of 99-4 and in the Senate by a vote of 67-0.
The legislation, HF4531, is actually a package of bills to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, headlined by a bill that moves $200 million from the state’s general fund to the COVID-19 Minnesota fund. Gov. Tim Walz will have broad discretion on how to use that money to combat the virus when signed into law.
The bill before the House provides $200 million in funding that Governor Walz will have broad discretion on spending. There’s another $170 million for a variety of things, including $11 million Native American tribes can apply for to make up for lost casino revenue.— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) March 26, 2020
"Minnesotans always come together in times of crisis to support each other, and over the past several days legislators have been working around the clock to respond to the COVID-19 crisis without the partisan bickering we’ve seen in Washington D.C.," House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in a statement. "This bill will help every Minnesotan in some way shape or form, and provides needed flexibility and assistance to small businesses and their employees, childcare providers, farmers, veterans, educators and countless others."
"As Minnesotans continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, we have taken measures to ensure they have the critical support they need," said Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent, D-Woodbury. "While this bill is a strong step in the right direction, our work is not done.
The funding is on top of several earlier bills passed by the legislature in response to the virus, pushing the state’s total funding for COVID-19 response over $550 million.
Lawmakers suspended normal rules and declared the bill an urgent matter in an effort to pass it quickly and get it to Gov. Walz’s desk for his signature.