Urge the Senate to support funding for child care facilities!

One of the GMNP’s top priorities is solving the child care shortage in Greater Minnesota communities. This legislative session, we are working to create a new program, funded through the bonding bill, that would provide capital for local governments to build, purchase, or rehab buildings that the city or county would own but could rent to child care providers. The program would fund up to 50% of the capital costs of the program, with a maximum of $500,000. The local community would be responsible for the remaining 50 percent, either through a city or county contribution or funding from the private sector.

This week, the House DFL announced their bonding proposal, and it includes $5 million for this program.

We have received word that Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester), chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, is lukewarm to this proposal. In a recent email to one of our members, he states, “I have not heard of any cities yet that want to get into this financially and operationally.” Continue reading

House unveils bonding bill

On Monday, the House unveiled its proposed bonding bill, HF 2529. The bill would appropriate slightly more than $2 billion in general obligation bonds and another $500 million in cash and other sources. Click here to see a spreadsheet of all the projects included in the bill.

In addition to many important local projects and upgrades to state buildings and assets, the bill includes funding for several GMNP priorities:

  • $6 million for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) program (we are seeking $20 million)
  • $5 million for child care facilities grants (we are seeking $20 million)
  • $53.2 million for the Local Road Improvement Program
  • $53.2 million for the Local Bridge Replacement Program

Continue reading

ACTION ALERT – Urge the Senate to include child care facilities in the bonding bill!

The Greater Minnesota Partnership is advocating for $20 million in child care facilities grants (SF3429-Housley) to be included in the bonding bill . This proposal has overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, but it appears to have stalled in the Senate.

With just days until the Legislature’s May 18 deadline, it is vital that Greater Minnesota business and community leaders reach out to their state senator and other key Senate leaders about the dire need for child care facilities in Greater Minnesota.

Take Action – Senators need to hear from YOU!

It is critical that GMNP members and affiliates contact Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair Dave Senjem, and your state senator TODAY. Urge them to pass a bonding bill that contains $20 million for grants to help build or expand child care facilities in Greater Minnesota. Continue reading

GMNP urges House, Senate to find compromise on relief for small businesses

This week, GMNP and its partner organization the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities submitted a letter to legislative leaders proposing a compromise between the House and Senate on two bills (HF 1507/SF 4481) that both aim to provide additional economic support for small businesses. In our joint letter, we also asked the Legislature to pass legislation right away so that the money can get out into our communities as quickly as possible.

The Senate bill includes $20 million in additional funding for the Small Business Emergency Loan Program and $10 million for a new grant program aimed at employers with 10 or fewer employees. The House bill proposes $50 million in new funds for the Small Business Emergency Loan Program, with carveouts for small businesses and minority owned businesses. Continue reading

ACTION ALERT – Urge your legislators to pass a bonding bill!

As our communities and state continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that our lawmakers come together to pass a large bonding bill.

The bonding bill is one of the state’s most powerful tools to help stimulate the economy and ensure that our infrastructure remains sound. While there appears to be broad agreement among most legislators on the need for a bonding bill this year, differences remain regarding its size, scope and urgency.

We need your help! Please contact your legislators and urge them to pass a large bonding bill right away so that we can begin to get our economy back on track. Continue reading

Governor announces partial ‘return-to-work’ order

Gov. Walz issued Executive Order 20-40 today which could allow 80,000 to 100,000 Minnesotans to return to work as early as Monday, April 27.

Under the order, workers in many office-based or industrial/manufacturing businesses will be allowed to return to their workplaces so long as the business establishes and implements a COVID-19 preparedness plan that includes infection prevention measures, social distancing controls, plans to identify and isolate ill individuals, and other safety protocols. Businesses are not required to submit their plan to the state, but it must be made available upon request. A preparedness plan template is available here.

The partial “return-to-work” order pertains only to workers who serve in non-customer facing roles. It also states that any workers who are able to work from home should continue to do so. Continue reading

U of M Extension offering webinars for rural leaders, business owners

University of Minnesota’s Extension service is offering several different series of webinars for Minnesota business owners and leaders to help them get their rural communities through the pandemic. These webinars aimed at tourism, small businesses and community leaders are free and each session is 30 minutes long. Sign up for upcoming webinars or watch past ones on demand:

You can find more information and resources on the U of M Extension website.

Apply to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

This week, the state issued a notice of vacancy for a seat on the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband. The current task force is a continuation of a task force originally established by Gov. Dayton to advise the executive and legislative branches on broadband policy, including the assessment of issues and gaps in our state’s service. Additional information about the task force can be found on DEED’s website HERE.

With schools, businesses and local governments all operating remotely due to COVID-19, it is clear Minnesota still has work to do to deliver reliable service to every corner of the state. Additional voices from Greater Minnesota could be important in these ongoing efforts.

If you or someone from your city is interested, applications can be submitted through the Secretary of State’s website. Applications require submission of a resume and letter of interest. The first application review date is May 6, so applicants are encouraged to apply before that date.

State seeks feedback on reopening businesses

One of the most pressing concerns the state faces during this pandemic is determining when, how and which businesses can start to reopen. State agencies and Senate Republicans are seeking feedback from the public regarding how to safely practice social distancing when reopening their businesses.

At the state level, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is gathering this information to help guide Gov. Walz in his decision-making on the stay-at-home order. Members of the public, particularly those who own or operate businesses, are encouraged to provide their feedback on how to safely reopen at www.mn.gov/deed/critical. Scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on the phrase titled “SHARE YOUR INPUT” to make a submission.

The Senate GOP is also gathering this information at mnsenaterepublicans.com/openmn to help guide legislative solutions. Continue reading

Governor Walz extends stay-at-home order to May 4

On Wednesday, Gov. Walz announced an extension of the Minnesota stay-at-home order. The previous executive order was originally scheduled to end Friday, May 1 for services industries such as bars and restaurants and Friday, April 10 for other non-essential businesses. Under the new order (described in Executive Order 20-33), both restrictions are now scheduled to be lifted on Monday, May 4.

The order comes at the recommendation of state health officials to prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming the Minnesota health care system. By extending social distancing guidelines to May 4, the state has more time to acquire essential ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE), and intensive care unit beds. With this new order in place, Gov. Walz projects the peak of COVID-19 cases to hit in July. Continue reading