ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 91st Session of the Minnesota Legislature adjourned at midnight Sunday night, bringing an extraordinary legislative session to a close. Much of the focus of this year’s session was upended by COVID-19 and its impact on the public health and economy of Minnesota. The legislature responded with a series of relief bills, but work remains to address the continued crisis, including a jobs-focused bonding bill that invests in Duluth.
“The COVID-19 crisis required an extraordinary response from the legislature to provide support for our public health care network and to provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who have been affected by losing a paycheck or seeing a business close,” said Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth). “The sacrifices that have been asked of every person in the state cannot be fully repaid, but it’s our responsibility as policymakers to pass legislation helping everyone affected by this crisis. While the legislature came together and passed a series of relief bills, we need to get back to work and pass a bonding bill to put people back to work, ratify the contracts of hardworking state employees, and secure more economic stability for workers and businesses.”
The legislature passed a series of bills to strengthen Minnesota’s public health care network, provide more personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers, and thanks to Senator Simonson’s leadership allow COVID-19 affected emergency workers to claim workers compensation. The legislature also provided support for small businesses through emergency loans and grants as they continue to face difficulties staying afloat.
In addition to the COVID-19 response measures, other important measures were passed including the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth tobacco use, and a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections. All of these have now been signed into law by Governor Walz.
With a special session all but assured for June 12, Senator Simonson will be advocating for completing work on critical unfinished priorities, with a job-focused bonding bill at the top of the list.
“Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans have had their hours reduced or lost their jobs completely, and hundreds of businesses are on the brink of closing permanently,” said Senator Simonson. “We must use every tool at our disposable to rebuild the economy and invest in our public assets – and a strong bonding bill is our best way to do it. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle and in the House to get a bonding bill passed and signed into law by Governor Walz as soon as possible.”
Senator Simonson will also begin hosting weekly virtual town halls, with the first one scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the end of the regular 2020 Legislative Session. These will be streamed at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/simonsonforsenate1/.