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Coronavirus In Minnesota: State Legislature Passes New Protection For Front-Line Workers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  The Minnesota Legislature passed a workers' compensation bill Tuesday to cover first responders, health care workers and daycare workers. The vote was unanimous in the Senate and there were only four no votes in the House.

In an extraordinary scene some legislators worse masks, others were spaced out on both the House and Senate floor as well as the galleries.

In a cumbersome process, many legislators joined the House session from home on their cellphones. The bill allows first responders, health care providers and child care workers to automatically get workers comp if they get COVID-19.

"These are the people who take care of us and we need to take care of them," Senator Jeff Howe said.

On March 26 first responders standing six feet apart on the Capitol steps made an impassioned plea for the coverage.

"First responders have been thrown into this battle against COVID-19 totally undefended," Chris Parsons, President of the Minnesota Professional Firefighters explained.

The legislation is effective April 8 and is in place until May 1. Anyone in these categories who contracted COVID-19 before will have to go through the process of proving they got it on the job.

As for paying for this, legislators say they are not sure how this will get paid for and that it will hit employers hard but in this crisis legislators said they had to take this action now to protect those on the front lines.

The legislature is officially adjourned until April 14 but could be called back at any time.

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