The Minnesota Legislature will next meet in session on April 14 to take up legislation to provide insulin for uninsured Minnesotans with diabetes or those who can’t afford it, in addition to other potential priorities specific to the COVID-19 crisis.
It is important for the Legislature to continue meet and pass legislation to make sure Minnesotans are protected and we come out of the pandemic in the strongest economic position possible. This week, the Legislature proved it can do so in a safe and effective manner by establishing procedures for remote voting that limit personal contact within the Capitol. The Minnesota Senate DFL is doing what it can to help our state prepare, respond, and eventually defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an anticipated change in the long-term budget forecast and most of the budgetary balance invested in dealing with COVID-19, it is expected the $2 billion rainy-day fund will be tapped to address Minnesota’s most critical needs. This is a huge reversal from late February, when officials forecasted a projected surplus of $1.5 billion. Minnesota lawmakers are in the process of understanding what types of federal assistance we can rely upon, what ongoing needs will need legislative action, and how we can plan for the future amidst much uncertainty.
Other priorities that the Senate DFL is hopeful to address before May 18 include a strong bonding bill that creates jobs; funding flexibility for school districts; rental and landlord assistance funding; transportation and transit reforms; expanding broadband; policies to enhance protections for discriminatory behaviors; and support for businesses and employees negatively impacted by COVID. This list is not at all exhaustive, but it highlights a few issues that lawmakers are discussing.
You can watch Senate proceedings and remain aware of meeting schedules at: www.senate.mn.
All of these conversations will continue between now and the constitutional end of session on May 18, and the Legislature stands ready to respond when needed.