Friends and Neighbors,
The 2020 session has come to a close. COVID-19 transformed a lot of our process this year as we prepared for the projected surge and worked to support our Minnesota families and small businesses as the state was closed down by Governor Walz. We remained focused on the health and safety of our constituents, but much of our time was taken up by bills and initiatives in place to combat the impact of this pandemic. While we did not accomplish everything we were hoping to this year, I am proud of our work given the circumstances. We had to pivot our priorities but continued to work on your behalf and we look forward to getting back to the regular session process next year! Below are a couple of the bills we passed in the final days of session.
Bill to Support Small Businesses in Crisis
We passed legislation to appropriate $60 million for small businesses in crisis from the stay at home orders and coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed with bipartisan support. The bill takes $57.6 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and $2.4 million from the Small Business Guarantee Loan program to provide relief grants to Minnesota small businesses.
“Every day, the closures mandated by the Governor bring many small businesses one step closer to closing permanently,” said Senator Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo). “We hope these grants will carry many of them out of these tough economic times and back to prosperity! We will continue working on solutions to protect our mom and pop shops as we navigate these times together!”
A business is eligible if it has a brick and mortar location in Minnesota, is owned by a permanent resident, employs 50 or fewer full-time staff, and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Once approved, eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $10,000 to use for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.
Legislative oversight for future peacetime emergencies
We approved a bill that would reassert a fair balance of governing power between the legislative branch and the executive branch during future states of emergency. The bill, Chief-authored by Senator Osmek would require the Governor to obtain legislative approval to extend any emergency declaration beyond 30 days. This differs from current law, which allows the Governor to extend a peacetime emergency indefinitely for 30 days at a time and only grants the legislature the option to cancel emergency powers with a majority vote of both the House and Senate.
I have repeatedly heard from many of you that ‘enough is enough’. Who do we trust our health and safety to? One Governor? Or the most trusted people in our communities like our bankers, teachers, Ministers, doctors, and neighbors? This legislation brings the two legislative bodies together to restore the balance of the branches of government and assist the Governor throughout future peacetime emergencies for the health and safety of our constituents across Minnesota.
This was the second year of the biennium and not a budget year so it was a ‘Short Session’. It’s remarkable the accomplishments completed in the middle of a pandemic which lead our state into a financial deficit.
We got a lot done this session, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic and a deficit. Should the Governor call the legislature back in June we will work on passing a Bonding bill, tax relief, and housing support to help Minnesotans get through this time.
Until then, we will continue to push back against the Governor’s emergency powers and advocate for your right to worship, to reopen your business, and start getting back on the road to recovery!
Veterans Virtual Career Fair
The pandemic has left many veterans unemployed and struggling to find work. MDVA is hosting a virtual career fair to help veterans who have lost their jobs find employment in the healthcare industry. The online event will be held Thursday, May 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. This event is open to Veterans, transitioning service members, currently serving Reserve and National Guard, family members of Veterans, and caregivers of Veterans.
You can register here: https://www.careerforcemn.com/events/531395/veterans-virtual-career-fair.
Without parades and neighborhood get-togethers, Memorial Day is going to feel different this year. MDVA is hosting a virtual Memorial Day program in place of live events on Twin Cities PBS. Although we cannot be together, I hope we all take some time on Monday to reflect on the sacrifice made by those who died in service to our great nation. Despite these times, we must still remember all there is to be thankful for. Those who gave everything to protect our freedom deserve our appreciation every day. Some of these “Freedoms” are what you, others and our MN Senate Majority, are concerned about as we are under the Governor’s “Emergency Peacetime” Executive Orders. The men and women who lost their lives serve as an inspiration as we continue to navigate these times.
I pray you all are doing well and staying safe. Please feel free to contact my office at 651-296-5981 or email@example.com.
Keep in Touch
Senator Bruce Anderson
3209 Minnesota Senate Building
95 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55155