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Latest Executive Orders: vehicle and driver regulations, paid leave for state employees

Minnesota Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-06 to exempt vehicles and drivers providing direct assistance for emergency relief efforts in response to COVID-19 from certain regulations including provisions on truck weights and hours of service.

Walz also signed Executive Order 20-07 providing paid leave for state employees who are not able to work for reasons related to COVID-19 and suspended the waiting period for insurance coverage for new employees.

Legislature Shifts to “On Call” Status

Both the Minnesota Senate and House have adjourned until Tuesday, April 14 or until a date agreed to by the leaders of the House and Senate. 

Accordingly, the legislature passed a resolution allowing the House and Senate to adjourn for more than three days. The House and Senate will meet in floor and committee session on an on-call basis through April 14, which is the date the legislature was scheduled to return from the Easter/Passover break that was set to begin on Saturday, April 4.

Before the Senate adjourned, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said the legislature may come back on Thursday, March 26.

During this time period, the legislature will only take up bills on the House and Senate floors by agreement of the House DFL, House GOP, Senate DFL and Senate GOP caucus leaders.

Governor Walz Signs $200 Million COVID-19 Emergency Response Package

This week, the House and Senate passed a second funding package to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation, Senate File 4334, includes additional emergency funding of $200 million for Minnesota hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical professionals to combat the spread of COVID-19. Governor Walz has already signed Senate File 4334 into law.

This new law appropriates $50 million to the state’s public health response contingency account and $150 million to create a health care response fund which would be used to distribute grants. Any funds still in the account on February 1, 2021, will be returned to the general fund.

The $200 million in funding would be accessible by care providers including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, nursing facilities, health care facilities, ambulance services, and settings in which assisted living services or health care services are provided.

The emergency coronavirus funding the legislature approved last week provided $21 million to support COVID-19 disease investigation, monitor outbreaks, provide public information, coordinate response activities, and conduct laboratory analysis.

More information on Senate File 4334 can be found here.

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