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January 19, 2021

Second Week of Session

Legislative Committees Get to Work

After a rather ceremonial first week, last week saw legislative committees begin digging into a variety of policy issues. While many committees began with jurisdictional overviews and presentations from non-partisan and state agency staff, others immediately dug into the state’s biennial budget forecast and its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The overviews and updates are expected to continue this week as legislators work to prepare specific legislative proposals for introduction.

Peacetime Emergency Extension

On January 13, 2021, Gov. Tim Walz again extended his declaration of a peacetime emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, he kept in place dozens of executive orders which seek to decrease the transmission of the disease and help state agencies and local governments respond to the pandemic. Republican legislators, citing the governor’s ability to make sweeping policy decisions unilaterally, continue to push for an end to the emergency declaration while Democrats argue that Walz’s authority is needed absent legislative action to address hurdles to the state’s response. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”), Minnesota has now recorded over 448,268 covid-19 cases, averaging about 10,000 new cases per week, with 5,945 deaths, averaging about 40 deaths per day.

Vaccine Rollout an Ongoing Topic for Debate

Last week, committees in both bodies held hearings to discuss MDH’s ongoing distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Many legislators expressed concerns over alleged delays or inefficiencies in the process, while others stressed the importance of prioritizing older Minnesotans and individuals with chronic health conditions that might place them at higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications. According to MDH, Minnesota has distributed 45% of the doses sent to the state thus far; having received approximately about 65,000 doses per week since mid-December.

Late last week, the state launched vaccination sites across the state last week in the hope of reaching individuals 65 years old and older as well as teachers and child care workers. However, there remains some concern that the initial doses available to those populations may be limited. The state will launch an additional nine appointment-only site on Thursday. Eligible Minnesotans can sign up for appointments online here. It is expected additional federal guidance on vaccine distribution/prioritization and rollout will be announced later this week.

    Please reach out to any of the Larkin Hoffman Government Relations team members with any questions. 


    Our Team

    Peter Coyle



    Peder Larson



    Margaret Vesel



    Robert Long



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    Gerald Seck



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    Grady Harn


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    Larkin Hoffman provides counsel to a wide variety of ‎organizations, from ‎small businesses and nonprofits to  Fortune 500 companies, in ‎many areas of practice including ‎corporate and governance matters, litigation, real ‎estate, government relations, labor and employment, intellectual property, ‎information technology, ‎franchising and taxation. The firm also serves the needs of individuals in many ‎areas ‎including trusts and estates, personal injury and family law.


    This newsletter is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates. While the information provided in this newsletter is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.