Special session Monday to focus on COVID-19 relief for Minnesota businesses, workers

After disagreeing on how long unemployment benefits should last, it appears lawmakers have reached a deal.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Minnesota Legislature will convene Monday afternoon for its seventh special session of the year, during which lawmakers are expected to pass a COVID-19 relief bill to help businesses and workers impacted by the pandemic.

The governor and House Republicans previously shared what they'd like to see included in a relief package in late November, with Walz eyeing a package worth $300-$600 million

And last week, lawmakers said they'd reached an agreement on support for businesses.

A Senate proposal has $216 million in financial relief for impacted businesses, including about $100 million that would go to restaurants, bars, and gyms impacted by the latest four-week "pause." Another $102 million would go to counties to distribute to businesses at the local level and $14 million would benefit conference centers and movie theaters. 

The business relief proposal does not include any significant changes to state alcohol laws to allow off-sale cocktails, which the hospitality industry has said would help restaurants and bars bring in revenue. 

Lawmakers have also reportedly reached a deal on extending unemployment benefits for the more than 100,000 Minnesotans who are slated to lose their benefits at the end of the month. 

According to reports, Democrats and Republicans agreed to a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed workers who are nearing their maximum benefit amount

The Democrat-controlled House had pushed for a 13-week extension of unemployment (end date of April 24), while the Republican-controlled Senate wanted it capped at about five weeks (end date of March 20), according to reports. Based on current usage, unemployment benefits cost about $40 million per week, MPR News said.

Democrats also sought to provide a one-time $500 stimulus check to about 30,000 Minnesota families. It's unclear if any stimulus money was agreed upon. 

House Republicans are expected to share details of their relief proposal at 10 a.m. Monday. 

The House and Senate will both be in session starting at 3 p.m. 

Announcement Wednesday on executive order

Gov. Tim Walz not only convened the special session to pass COVID relief but because the Minnesota Constitution requires him to do so if he wants to extend his peacetime emergency powers beyond 30 days. Doing this will allow both chambers to decide if they want to revoke the governor's powers.

Walz is facing a growing backlash from hundreds of businesses that are planning to reopen despite the executive order, according to ReOpen Minnesota. Meanwhile, he's also been sued by a parent group called Let Them Play MN demanding youth sports be reinstated. 

The governor's executive order that puts restrictions on youth sports, bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses is in effect until Dec. 18. Walz now is not expected to announce until Wednesday whether he'll extend the "pause." Journalist Blois Olson says Walz's decision to push back the announcement from Friday to Monday to Wednesday may mean good news for lifting some elements of the restrictions, but that will remain to be seen.

Walz said last week that data suggest the mitigation measures in place to improve the COVID-19 situation in Minnesota are working as cases and hospitalizations are dipping after surging for the past several weeks.

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Sunday, April 11

The latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 10.52.04 AM

A-Rod takeover: Fans can't help but fear the worst

Could the former slugger move the Timberwolves?

Nurse Rachel Zanmiller, who's battling cancer.

After post-birth cancer diagnosis, MN nurse's family asking for help

Rachel Zanmiller has been battling leukemia since giving birth last month.

jennifer carnahan

After intense campaign, Jennifer Carnahan reelected MN GOP chair

This will be her third term leading Minnesota Republicans.

police lights

Meth, handgun and $34K in cash seized in drugs raid

Two people were arrested and two children were placed with family service.

Screen Shot 2021-04-11 at 7.44.24 AM

Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' cold open was about Derek Chauvin trial

It featured four cast members playing anchors of a fictional Minnesota TV news channel.

Eype1UCW8AcXU8j

St. Cloud State blanked by UMass in national championship game

Minnesota had three teams in the Frozen Four but didn't claim the national title.

BLM mural in West St. Paul.

Minnesotan's fight to save his BLM mural gets international coverage

West St. Paul told Ryan Weyandt the art violates city code.

Alex Rodriguez

Reports: Alex Rodriguez part of group finalizing deal to buy Wolves, Lynx

The former MLB will become part-owner of the Wolves and Lynx.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Accumulating snow expected in parts of Minnesota on Monday

Far northwestern Minnesota stands the best chance for higher snow totals.

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.53.51 PM

Police looking for 'person of interest' in connection to woman's killing

The public is advised to avoid approaching him and to call 911.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, April 10

Cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Minnesota.

Related

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz convenes special session to extend emergency powers

The Minnesota Legislature will convene for its fourth special session on Sept. 11.

flickr-mn-capitol-building-nov-2018

House, Senate disagree on policing bills with time running out in Special Session

House leaders say the Senate's bills don't do enough to enact systemic change.

flickr-mn-capitol-building-nov-2018

MN Senate ends special session with no deal on police reform

Lawmakers failed to agree on other critical legislation as well.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz offers pathway to 'wind-down' his emergency powers

"I recognize our shared interest in finding a pathway ... to ensure an orderly end of the peacetime emergency when it is no longer needed," Walz writes.

blue-and-white-sorry-we-re-closed-wooden-signage-1171386

COVID-19: Here's what Gov. Walz, Republicans are proposing to help businesses

Once they come to an agreement, Walz will call a special session to pass the legislation.