Minnesota Legislature passes COVID presumption bill

Minnesota state lawmakers have approved their first bill of the new legislative session.

Thursday, the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that extends the COVID-19 presumption for public safety and health care workers, sending the bill to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk.

Under the bill, public safety and health care workers who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted it from their job and are covered by workers’ compensation. Its approval comes after the previous COVID-19 presumption law ended on Dec. 31. The new law will begin when Walz signs it and extend into 2023.

The House DFL says the bill covers 183,000 front-line workers across Minnesota.

“Passing this legislation is a huge victory for Minnesota’s 183,000 public safety, healthcare, and childcare workers,” Rep. Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. Cloud, the author of the House bill, said in a statement. “By extending the workers compensation presumption for frontline workers who contract COVID-19, we are having the backs of the Minnesotans who are keeping us safe, taking care of us when we are sick, and caring for our children.”

“This is an important bill for workers in our State, and it’s only fitting that this bill was the first of the year to be passed off the Senate Floor,” Sen. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, the author of the Senate bill, said in a statement. “Many workers throughout our state have continued showing up to work, despite the unique challenges presented by Covid. Naturally, this has led to workers contracting the virus while on the job. Not only do workers support this bill, but it also has gained wide support throughout stakeholders—the Workers’ Compensation Council, insurance providers, and stakeholders in the business and labor industries are all in agreeance on this matter. Extending the sunset date is the right thing to do so our workers and businesses can be adequately protected.”

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 66-0. The amended House bill passed 124-8.