FRONTLINE FUNDING: New bill could put up to $750 in the pockets of MN frontline workers

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, MN -- Minnesota’s house and senate passed a bill Thursday that sets aside $500 million toward bonuses for frontline workers.

Under the bill, workers in health care, emergency responders, courts and corrections, social services, child care, school workers, food service workers, and even retail could qualify for the bonus checks.

With an estimated 667,000 frontline workers across the state, each worker could receive roughly $750 from the state.

“[These] are the workers that deserve more than lip service, they risk their lives, they didn’t see their families and some didn’t even survive. This is an insignificant drop in the bucket of what we can do for workers and I hope we continue to do more to protect our workers and keep them safe,” said Representative Liz Olson (DFL - Duluth).

The state legislature tried to pass a similar bill last year but was unable to agree on who should qualify.

Now, it includes educators on the long list of eligible workers.

“If we go back two years, teachers along with other frontline workers were seen as heroes and I think the further we got into the pandemic, that feeling I think started to dwindle,” said Ethan Fisher, president of the Duluth Federation of Teachers.

Fisher feels the new bill could lift the spirits of teachers and other frontline workers across the state.

“This is a little bit of a boost that I think would help anybody, but certainly our teachers, as a show of appreciation I think this is a good way of acknowledging that,” said Fisher.

Olson believes the tangible show of support is much more meaningful than any other expression the state made.

“It’s the recognition as well as putting forward something to say we’re not just thanking you with a thank you or a banner, we’re recognizing you with what we can do as a state, which is put forth some of our surpluses,” she said.

It’s unclear when the money could become available.

According to Olson, the house and senate are trying to expedite the bill to Governor Walz to make the bonuses available more quickly.

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