Each week during the session, we're tracking important pieces of legislation as they move through the legislature.
Take a look at bill progress in both the Minnesota House and Senate, as well as weekly previews and reviews, below.
4/3/2020 — Legislative Review
The Legislature continued discussions this week primarily related to responding to COVID-19 in the state.
With lawmakers not meeting at the Capitol unless absolutely necessary for critical work, many lawmakers have begun hosting virtual meetings.
However, the House had its first-ever official remote committee meeting this week when the Rules and Legislative Administration Committee met Wednesday. The meeting lasted about 25 minutes, during which the committee adopted two policies regarding emergency telecommuting and emergency sick leave during widespread illness.
The newly formed Senate COVID-19 Response Working Group then met Thursday and Friday via Zoom, an online video group chat service. The panel consists of six Republican members, led by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and five Democrats. The group is set to meet again Monday to continue discussions about responding to COVID-19 in Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz again used executive authority this week to continue responding to the pandemic. Walz signed two executive orders Tuesday, one extending licenses for first responders and deferring education requirements so they can continue work and another to continue to the state's medical cannabis program during the pandemic. Friday night, Walz signed a third order to help Minnesota's agriculture industry and truckers by lifting hours of service requirements for truck drivers transporting feed and fertilizer.
Walz also announced plans to deliver his State of the State address Sunday at 7 p.m. through a live online video. The address was originally scheduled to be delivered in March but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's this week's legislative review.
3/30/2020 — Legislative Preview
Lawmakers at the state Capitol will continue work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in what will be the eighth week of the legislative session this week.
It will be the fourth straight week the coronavirus pandemic has been the main focus for lawmakers.
The Legislature will continue to work by “alternative means,” staying away from the chambers if possible, although returning if necessary as we saw last week when lawmakers returned to pass a $330 million COVID-19 response bill.
The bulk of the response work done by the Legislature continues to come together very quickly, making it difficult to predict exactly what lawmakers will be working on this week. However, the focus continues to be addressing different needs created by the coronavirus pandemic. Political leaders of both chambers and parties have been working together throughout the process and working with Gov. Tim Walz to best chart their next steps and determine what still needs to be addressed as the situation evolves.