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May 10, 2021

Minnesota receives $5 billion from ARP

Today, the Biden administration announced its guidance to states on the spending of the $1.9 trillion aid package, known as the American Rescue Plan (“ARP”). Minnesota will receive $4.97 billion, of which, $2.83 billion goes to state government and $2.13 billion goes to local governments around the state, including more than $166 million for St. Paul and around $271 million for Minneapolis. Republican plans attempt to limit Governor Walz’s control of the federal dollars by including some of the dollars in their budget plans, while democrats argue that it is too late to include them in the current budget negotiations. Disagreements over how to use these federal dollars, and who is involved in that decision-making, will play a large role in the final negotiations.

Vast Differences Remain with One Week Left of the 2021 Session

The Minnesota legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn the 2021 legislative session no later than midnight on Monday, May 17, 2021. While passing a balanced state budget to fund state government for the next two years remains the primary objective of the session, the DFL-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate remain over $1 billion apart in their respective budget proposals.

With only a week remaining, the simple logistics of drafting and re-passing thousands of pages of budget and policy legislation is becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish by the deadline. That being said, Gov. Tim Walz is expected to renew his pandemic peacetime emergency authority in June, thereby triggering at least one special session prior to a potential government shutdown on July 1, 2021. That expected special session has taken some of the pressure off of legislative leaders to reach a compromise by the May 17th deadline to adjourn.

Some of the key differences between the parties include:


  • Republicans have vocally opposed any tax increases this year, utilizing the state’s healthy budget surplus and additional federal COVID relief money to increase spending.

  • Democrats are proposing a number of new taxes and tax increases, including a new, fifth-tier income tax for households making over $1 million (individuals making over $500,000).

Health and Human Services

  • Republicans have proposed no new spending in health and human services, continuing spending at its current level, including maintaining the state’s reinsurance program that stabilizes health insurance premium costs for Minnesotans.

  • Democrats are proposing $375 million in new spending targeted at helping low-income Minnesotans.

Public Safety

  • Republicans are proposing $97 million in new spending for public safety, including increased funding for additional law enforcement officers.

  • Democrats are proposing $134 million in new spending, including additional police training and reforms aimed at reducing police violence. 


  • Republicans are proposing a robust, $220 million increased transportation funding to fix local roads and bridges.

  • Democrats are proposing a $49 million increase in transportation spending, funded by a new gas tax that automatically adjusts each year with inflation.

Other areas of major difference include funding for public K-12 education and state colleges and universities.

With all proposals passed through the House and Senate, conference committees have been meeting and will continue to meet over the next seven days to try and work out these vast differences. But, until joint budget targets are agreed to by the House, Senate, and Governor, little will happen.

Governor Dials Back COVID Restrictions

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, Gov. Walz announced his plan and timeline to eliminate nearly all of the state’s pandemic restrictions by July 1, 2021. The “Stay Safe Plan” should return a sense of normalcy to Minnesota through a three-step process:

Effective May 7, 2021

  • No restrictions on outdoor dining, events, and other gatherings;
  • Ends mask mandate outdoors except at large venues with over 500 people;
  • Eliminates mandatory, early closing time for bars, restaurants, and food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation - unless a local government adopts its own early closing policy.

Effective May 28, 2021

  • All capacity and distancing limits end, including for indoor events and gatherings.
  • The requirements that will remain include: Face coverings indoors and for outdoor events that exceed 500 people; businesses and other venues must have plans that keep their employees and customers safe – as they have from the beginning of the pandemic – guided only by a minimal universal state guidance document that includes no new requirements.

Effective No Later than July 1, 2021

  • When 70 percent of Minnesotans age 16 years and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but no later than July 1, all remaining face covering requirements and the requirement for preparedness plans will end.

Important Dates

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

Lawmakers are bracing for a hectic few months, with President Joe Biden’s full budget request expected by Memorial Day, House committee markups in June, and a potential reconciliation bill for Biden’s infrastructure, education and child care plans. House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) outlined a busy start to the summer for her panel. DeLauro said the subcommittees and full committee will mark up the 12 annual spending bills in June, and the legislation will be on the floor in July. It’s the first appropriations process in a decade without any statutory limits in place on discretionary spending, and DeLauro didn't give any details on what spending levels party leaders are considering.

The House kicks off its May work period agenda this week, beginning with floor consideration of a debt collection reform bill (HR 2547) and a pregnant workers discrimination measure (HR 1065). The chamber is also expected to consider measures under suspension of the rules, including bills aimed at bolstering mental health services and addressing disparities in mental health care.

Also during the May work period, the House is expected to consider measures to address COVID-19 hate crimes aimed at Asian American communities, including a bill
(S 937) passed by the Senate in a 94-1 vote in April. Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, (D-Maryland) said in a letter to lawmakers that the chamber is also expected this month to consider measures to promote STEM fellowships for students in underrepresented communities and veterans legislation related to Memorial Day. Hoyer added that the House could also consider a supplemental appropriations bill to address Capitol security enhancements and to establish a commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack.

COVID-19 worker protections

The White House's review of long-awaited rules to protect workers from COVID-19 were recently released. The worker protection rules, which are meant to respond to clusters of infections in crowded workplaces that drive up infections and death, will arrive more than a year after outbreaks began.

While there is no comprehensive federal count of how many people got sick from exposure to the coronavirus at work, peer-reviewed research and federal studies have shown people required to work in person faced high risk of infection, which contributed to higher mortality among Black and Latino Americans.

The White House is reviewing the worker protections rules and will take more than two dozen meetings with interest groups over the course of three weeks.

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


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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.


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