Guilty Verdict

Earlier this week, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. While officials had feared massive demonstrations with the possibility of violence or property damage, the reality was more akin to celebratory gatherings. Operation Safety Net, the name given to a unified security task force that had been created prior to the trial, has been winding down operations, as barricades and plywood are being removed from buildings.

Omnibus Bills – and PPP Conformity

The House and Senate have been busy this week passing omnibus finance bills on the floor, and have begun appointing members to conference committees to work out the differences between the House and Senate positions. Of importance to many is that both the House and Senate tax bills include federal conformity for Paycheck Protection Program loans, though the House only does so for loans less than $350,000.

Cannabis Legalization

Aside from omnibus bills, very few bills have been moving. An exception is H.F. 600, authored by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), which would legalize adult-use recreational cannabis. This bill has had four hearings in the last two weeks, and has now been heard in a total of nine different committees. Though there is an expectation that this legislation is likely to pass the House this year, no action is expected in the Senate.

New Commerce Commissioner

Late last week, Governor Tim Walz appointed Grace Arnold as the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce oversees financial, insurance and energy industries in the state. Commissioner Arnold had previously been serving as commissioner on a temporary basis.

Vaccines on the Move

For the first time, some areas of the state are seeing a lessened demand for COVID-19 vaccines. In spite of this, there are still few locations that are seeing appointments go unclaimed, as people remain willing to drive significant distances to secure the shot. Additionally, Minnesota announced earlier this week that they would create mobile vaccination units to try to make vaccination easier for underserved populations.

April 23, 2021