Minnesota lawmakers pass emergency funding to combat COVID-19
Minnesota lawmakers worked overnight into early Tuesday morning to pass a bill that provides $200 million in investments for a health care response plan in light of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The bill passed both the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives by 3 a.m. Tuesday.
The bill contains two parts.
According to lawmakers, $150 million will go to the Minnesota Department of Health to create grants for providers responding to COVID-19. Those providers include ambulance services, health care providers and facilities, health care clinics, pharmacies, and long-term care facilities, among others.
The grants would be used to hire additional staff and purchase supplies and equipment.
Meanwhile, $50 million will go into the public health contingency account and will be used by health care providers, including hospitals, nursing facilities and clinics.
"We’re taking a strong emergency step to help our health care system and Minnesotans who will need care," House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said in a statement. "This is just the first of many issues that we will need to address in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to work together with the Walz administration and the Minnesota Senate to help the people of Minnesota navigate this public health crisis."
Both the House and Senate will be out of session until at least April 14. During that time, the legislature will only take up legislation on the House and Senate floors with agreement of the legislature DFL and GOP caucus leaders.