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Gov. Walz signs frontline worker relief bill

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – On Friday evening, Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill that would use $500 million from the Federal pandemic relief funds to pay frontline workers. As well as, $2.7 billion to replenish the unemployment trust fund.

“I am proud to have bipartisan support for this bill and I’m grateful for the legislators who made this a priority,” Walz said.

The bill would make the following professions eligible for $750 each.

  • long-term care
  • Health care
  • Emergency responders
  • Public health
  • Corrections
  • Child care
  • Schools
  • Retail
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing

“I think this is very exciting. When they first mentioned it some time ago. I was very pleased about this. I believe that there was a number of people that have made a lot of sacrifices to continue to do their jobs to do it well,” said Valerie Guimaraes, a Rochester registered nurse. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more that should be included that I’m not aware of.”

“I think it’s wonderful. I have to say that teachers are underpaid. So I think that is a great incentive to keep people coming,” said Sherrell Spencer, a Rochester special education teacher.

“I don’t think that anyone necessarily deserves money for doing that, but it certainly is very nice that they’re considering doing something special for people who did walk through those times because it was difficult to navigate,” said Jennifer Rud, a Byron daycare provider.

Along with the list of eligible professions, people who work in those sectors must fill out an application through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

In addition, workers must have worked at least 120 hours from March 15, 2020 to June 30, 2021. People who received more than 20 weeks of unemployment benefits are ineligible.

Walz also approved repaying and refilling Unemployment Insurance.

“$2.7 billion to replenish the unemployment trust fund and prevent tax increases on small businesses that bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the governor’s office said.

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