A bill that would guarantee workers comp benefits to emergency responders, health care providers and corrections officers who contract COVID-19, is headed to the desk of Governor Tim Walz after the House and Senate both passed the bill on strong votes Tuesday. Senator Jeff Howe from Rockville says Minnesotans need to take care of the people who take care of them. Howe’s voice broke on the Senate floor as he told colleagues, “It means a lot to me to be the chief author of this bill. Every one of my siblings were either firefighters or first responders.” Those workers would receive work-comp benefits even if they couldn’t prove a COVID-19 infection was directly related to their jobs.
House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says the cost is estimated between 320 and 580 million dollars. Winkler contends even though lawmakers have little idea what shape the state budget is in right now, it’s necessary to help first responders.