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March 15, 2021

Walz Announces Vaccine Expansion

On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, Gov. Walz announced that the state will expand vaccine eligibility, to include an estimated 1.8 million additional Minnesotans. During a press conference, Gov. Walz directed healthcare providers to adjust eligibility requirements, starting last Wednesday, to include Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions. Among those eligible to receive vaccine beginning this week are individuals with:

  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Down syndrome;
  • Those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD & CHF);
  • Targeted essential workers: food processing plant workers;
  • Those with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness;
  • Minnesotans age 45 years and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC;
  • Minnesotans age 16 years and older with two or more underlying medical conditions;
  • Minnesotans age 50 years and older in
    multi-generational housing;
  • Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, and U.S. Postal Service workers.

Those interested in a vaccine regardless of phase or tier should sign up for the Vaccine Connector for the latest information and updates at:

Governor Rolls Back COVID-19 Restrictions

On Friday, March 12, 2021, almost exactly one year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Minnesota, Gov. Walz announced continued easing, or “dialing back,” of social and economic restrictions his administration has implemented to combat COVID-19. Although the state has seen a slight increase in weekly cases and deaths over the past two weeks, Minnesota has experienced a continued downward trend in overall infections. This trend, in combination with increased vaccinations, justifies the loosening of restrictions, according to the governor.

Effective at Noon on Monday, March 15, 2021, the following restrictions will apply:

Gathering with family:

  • Social gatherings: Up to 50 people outdoors or 15 people for indoor gatherings, both without household limits;
  • Youth sports: Pod size increasing to 50 for outdoor activities;
  • Religious services: Remove occupancy limit, but social distancing required;
  • Celebrations: Follow venue guidance.

Small Businesses:

  • Bars and restaurants: Increasing allowable occupancy to 75%, up from 50%, with a limit of 250 people. The limits apply separately indoors and outdoors. Bar seating increases to parties of 4;
  • Salons/barbers: Removing the occupancy limit, but social distancing required;
  • Gyms/fitness centers/pools: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%. Outdoor classes can increase to 50 people;
  • Entertainment venues: Increasing allowable occupancy to 50%, up from 25%, both indoors and outdoors, with a limit of 250.

As summer nears, the state will adjust guidelines for large venues. All venues can open at 50% capacity up to 250 people. Venues with normal occupant capacity over 500 can add additional guests, effective April 1:

  • Seated outdoor venues can add an additional 25% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people;
  • Non-seated outdoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 10,000 people;
  • Seated indoor venues can add an additional 15% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 3,000 people;
  • Non-seated indoor venues can add an additional 10% of their capacity over 500, with a limit of 1,500 people.

As more Minnesotans are vaccinated, work from home will no longer be required – but it will continue to be strongly recommended – beginning April 15. All employers should continue to accommodate employees who wish to work from home.

Senate Debates Tax Breaks for PPP Loans

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, the Minnesota Senate debated S.F. 263 (Bakk), providing for federal conformity to exclusion of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan forgiveness from gross income and certain related deductions.

On a bipartisan vote of 55-12, the Senate passed the bill that will help Minnesotan businesses avoid paying taxes on loans given in last year’s federal COVID-19 relief package. The bill complies with federal guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) directing states not to include PPP loans as taxable income.

Specifically, the bill conforms Minnesota tax law to the federal tax code by exempting the value of any paycheck protection loan that qualifies for loan forgiveness from the definition of income for tax purposes. The bill would also provide pass-through business entities the option to file as a C-option corporation, clarify existing language relating to federal section 179 conformity clarification, and provide a tax deduction for certain unemployment compensation.

Despite the bipartisan support in the Senate, it is unknown if the House will follow the Senate’s approach. The Minnesota Constitution requires that all tax bills must originate in the House, so until the House acts on its own bill or waives rules to expedite the passing of the Senate's version, the value of forgiven loans will remain taxable at the state level. With the April 15th filing deadline approaching, it is increasingly likely that the issue may not be resolved by the Legislature until after most individuals and businesses will have filed their 2020 taxes; potentially requiring thousands of taxpayers to submit amended filings should Minnesota eventually elect to conform to the federal tax exemption.

Important Dates

March 18
Governor is expected to release his supplemental budget

March 19

2nd Committee Deadline - committees must act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other house

March 21
Governor's State of the State address

March 26 - April 5
Easter/Passover Break - the legislature is in recess

April 9
3rd Committee Deadline - committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills

May 17
The legislature must adjourn

Please note: Committee deadlines do not apply to the committees on Capital Investment, Ways and Means/Finance, Taxes, or Rules and Legislative Administration.

Federal Update

President Joe Biden signed the first major legislative achievement of his presidency Thursday afternoon, moving to get a $1.86 trillion COVID-19 aid package into law as quickly as possible. With the coronavirus relief package signed into law, Democrats are planning their next step, making sure the funding doesn’t trigger massive across-the-board spending cuts.

The House plans to consider legislation next week that would avoid the cuts, known as sequester, that would otherwise be required under the statutory pay-as-you-go law enacted in 2010.

The cuts would be triggered within 15 days after the end of this year's session unless Congress takes action. So lawmakers have some time to figure out how to pass the paygo waiver through the evenly divided Senate, where it needs 60 votes.

In the past, lawmakers have secured bipartisan support by including similar waivers in larger, must-pass legislation that’s difficult to vote against. That happened in 2017 when following GOP tax cuts a provision was included in a stopgap appropriations law to avoid a partial government shutdown.

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



Bill Griffith


Matthew Bergeron



Gerald Seck



Logan O'Grady


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.