Gov. Tim Walz has announced his latest executive orders in his administration's continued response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor has signed Executive Orders 20-28 and 20-29, which will expand mental health counseling options for Minnesotans, and streamline the process for Minnesotans applying for unemployment insurance.
Here's a look at both of the orders:
Executive Order 20-28
Authorizes out-of-state mental health providers to treat Minnesota patients via telehealth services to "help ensure that the mental health needs of Minnesotans are met during the stress and uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic."
The order notes that many Minnesotans receive mental healthcare from providers in neighboring states, and this order will allow them to continue that care via virtual means.
Gov. Walz has been trying to expand Minnesota's mental healthcare options during COVID-19, asking President Trump for a major disaster declaration so the state can be reimbursed for expanding community-based crisis counseling services.
Executive Order 20-28 also waives late fees and deadlines for the licensure of dentists, barbers and cosmetologists.
Executive Order 20-29
This amends a previous order, EO 20-05, that was designed to help Minnesotans get unemployment insurance as quickly as possible rather than waiting the previous week following the loss of their jobs.
The amendment fixes the requirement that unemployment insurance payments are delayed for any period the applicant is receiving or has received vacation pay, sick pay, or PTO pay.
DEED commissioner Steve Grove says 45,000 workers in Minnesota are stuck waiting for payments because they are still using PTO or vacation time, and the amendment will change that and allow payments to be issued.
The order also requires that employers notify separated employees that they can apply for unemployment benefits, which is now a requirement for states who want to get federal funds for unemployment insurance – which will provide an extra $600-a-week on top of existing state unemployment benefits.
Earlier on Monday, Gov. Walz also announced $6.2 million in financial assistance grants that is earmarked for Minnesota veterans and their families who have been impacted by COVID-19, and will provide one-time payments of $1,000.