Activists take to Zoom today (noon) to express frustration over deadlock at the legislature on COVID bonuses for front-line workers in Minnesota. They blame Republicans for not agreeing to the broader group of workers that Democrats propose. Republicans respond there’s just 250 million dollars available, and to provide a meaningful bonus, only front-line workers exposed to the highest COVID risk should be included at this time.
Another wrinkle: some Senate Republicans are talking about ousting Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, and Governor Tim Walz is reluctant to call a special session to approve COVID bonuses unless Republicans agree to leave Malcolm alone. New Senate Democratic Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen says:
“Get our work done, and put the politics aside, and put people first.”
New Senate Republican Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said late last week:
“I will share that there are serious concerns about Commissioner Malcolm that we’ve heard from constituents, but I’ll also say that it’s an ongoing conversation within our caucus and we’ll have to see how it plays out.”
Lopez Franzen opposes efforts to remove Malcolm as health commissioner:
“I think it’s a disservice to our state if we, in the middle of a crisis, get rid of the captain.”