Minnesota House DFL leaders and legislators announced their first priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session today. The legislation focuses on the ongoing pandemic and assisting Minnesotans struggling as a result of COVID-19.
Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL – International Falls, is the chief author of the House DFL’s package of proposed worker protections, which includes emergency paid sick leave for health care workers, workers’ compensation for school employees who contract COVID-19, getting hospitality workers back on the job, and expanding unemployment insurance to those collecting social security.
“We’re grateful for our frontline workers, school employees, and other essential workers who put themselves in harm’s way by facing increased exposure to COVID, just by showing up to work,” said Ecklund, chair of the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance & Policy Committee. “As a result of the economic turmoil caused by COVID, workers in other sectors, including many hospitality businesses, have found themselves out of a job. We have a responsibility to ensure all Minnesotans can experience economic security.”
He is also the chief author of a bill to expand access to high-speed broadband internet. The bill would invest $120 million in the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program, a matching grant program that leverages private investments to reach speed and connectivity goals across the state.
The first bills include the following:
Economic Security – HF 1
- Housing assistance and homelessness prevention
- Emergency cash payments to families most in need
- Food security
- Broadband expansion
Worker Protections – HF 2
- Emergency paid sick leave for health care workers
- Workers’ compensation for school employees who contract COVID-19
- Getting hospitality workers back to work
- Expanding unemployment insurance to those collecting social security
Health Care and Human Services – HF 3
- Testing, vaccination, and staffing support for long-term care
- Addressing health-related needs of those without shelter
- Wrap-around student supports
- Investments to address learning loss and opportunity gaps
- Funding stabilization to address temporarily decreased enrollment
- Child care provider grants
- Wait list reduction