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H.F. No. 4556 - COVID-19 PROVISIONS (Minnesota Laws 2020, Chapter 74)
 
Author: Senator Paul E. Gazelka
 
Prepared By: Thomas S. Bottern, Senate Counsel (651/296-3810)
 
Date: April 15, 2020



 

OVERVIEW

Chapter 74 contains a variety of changes in law related to the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, including several provisions that enact executive orders issued by the Governor, and in some instances, make changes to the underlying order. The Senate COVID-19 working group met on April 13, 2020, and reviewed a draft version of this legislation.

ARTICLE 1

COVID-19 POLICY

Section 1 [Conditions] amends the open meeting law, specifically the conditions that must be met in order for a meeting to be conducted by interactive television. Language is added requiring that all votes be conducted by roll call so each member’s vote on each issue can be identified and recorded.  Also, an exemption to the condition that a member’s location be open and accessible to the public is added. The new exemption is for a member who has been advised by a health care professional against being in public for personal or family medical reasons. This exemption only applies when a state of emergency has been declared under Minnesota Statutes, section 12.31, and it expires 60 days after the removal of the state of emergency. There is a cumulative cap of three times per calendar year that a member may participate from a location that is not open or accessible to the public, which applies to the new exemption and the existing exemption for members serving in the military. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 2 [Harmless Error] provides that a writing or document that does not meet one or part of a requirement for executing a will under current law may be treated as if the writing had been executed properly if there is clear and convincing evidence that the decedent intended for the document to constitute the will or a modification to the will. Current law requires a will to be in writing, signed by the testator or another individual at their direction, and signed by two witnesses. This section applies only to documents executed between March 13, 2020, and February 15, 2021.

Section 3 [Administration and Financial Assistance; Second Harvest Food Bank] adds $1.25 million from the general fund to the existing Department of Agriculture FY2020 appropriation for Second Harvest food bank grants.  Specifies that, when practicable, that the additional appropriation be used to purchase surplus milk or other protein foods (meat, legumes, eggs, and cheese), and to purchase from a producer or processor from Minnesota.

Section 4 [Out-of-State Licenses] allows a person that holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that moves to Minnesota during the current public health emergency to wait longer than 30 days to apply for a CDL in Minnesota. The expiration date of the person’s CDL from another state is extended so that it expires the last day of the second month after the month when the emergency ends or on a date specified in a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMSCA has currently issued a waiver that is valid through June 30, 2020. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 5 [Medical Certificates and Waivers] provides a deadline extension for requirements relating to medical certificates and medical waivers that are required of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. The extension expires the last day of the second month after the month when the emergency ends or on a date specified in a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMSCA has currently issued a waiver that is valid through June 30, 2020. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 6 [Commercial Driver’s Licenses] During a public health emergency, the commissioner of public safety may issue a new commercial driver’s license (CDL) to an applicant without requiring the applicant to appear in person. The commissioner will use the applicant’s most recent driver’s license photo. The applicant is not required to take an eye exam. A CDL issued under this subdivision expires the last day of the second month after the month when the emergency ends. After the emergency ends, the CDL holder must appear for an in-person photo and take an eye exam. The commissioner may issue new CDLs under this subdivision for restricted CDLs and for other types of CDLs only if the commissioner has established procedures to conduct road examinations during the emergency that allows for the safety of the applicant and tester. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 7 [Report to Legislature; Powers Exercised by Commissioner of Transportation During Peacetime Public Health Emergency] The commissioner of transportation is required to report to the legislature on temporary powers exercised during the emergency. The report must be submitted within 30 days after a peacetime public health emergency ends. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 8 Report to Legislature; Powers Exercised by Metropolitan Council During Peacetime Public Health Emergency] The chair of the Metropolitan Council is required to report to the legislature on temporary powers exercised during the emergency. The report must be submitted within 30 days after a peacetime public health emergency ends. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 9 [Extending the Deadline for The Transit Finance Report] The deadline for the Metropolitan Council to submit the metropolitan area transit finance report is extended from October 15, 2020, to February 15, 2021.

Section 10 [Use of Federal Transit Funds] allows the commissioner of transportation and the chair of the Metropolitan Council to use funds allocated to the state by the Federal Transit Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in a manner consistent with federal law for, but not limited to, the following purposes: protection equipment for transit operators, safety training for operators, and frequent cleaning of transit vehicles. By February 15, 2021, the commissioner and chair must report all expenditures made under the CARES Act to the legislature.

Section 11 [Uninsured Individuals Needing COVID-19 Testing] specifies that uninsured individuals shall be covered under medical assistance for the testing and diagnosis of COVID-19.  Coverage is limited to any diagnostic product available to detect COVID-19 and the associated visit that is provided during the declared federal emergency period.  The costs of these services are covered at 100 percent federal participation.

Section 12 [Medical Assistance Coverage for COVID-19 Testing] clarifies that medical assistance covers any diagnostic product available for the detection of COVID-19 and the associated visit during the declared federal emergency period.  The costs of these services are covered at 100 percent federal participation.

Section 13 [Commissioner of Health; Temporary Emergency Authority] is similar, but not identical, to Emergency Executive Order 20-32 – Ensuring that Healthcare Providers Can Respond Quickly and Safely During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.

Subdivision 1 grants the commissioner of health, effective from March 13, 2020, until 60 days following the end of the peacetime emergency, broad authority to temporarily delay, waive, modify, and grant variances to statutes and rules under the commissioner’s jurisdiction, provided this authority is exercised for purposes related to preparing for, preventing, or responding to an​ outbreak of COVID-19 and for preserving access to programs and services provided, licensed,​ or regulated by the Department of Health.

Subdivision 2 specifies the statutory provisions, applicable rules, and administrative procedures the commissioner has broad authority to temporarily delay, waive, or modify.

Subdivision 3, paragraph (a) authorizes the commissioner of health to establish alternative health care facilities.

Paragraph (b) suspends with respect to the use of nontraditional spaces as alternative health care facilities the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act; the licensing and regulation of hospitals, nursing homes, and housing with services establishments; the regulation of complementary and alternative health care practices; and the licensing and regulation of board and lodging establishments, motels, and hotels.

Subdivision 4 authorizes the commissioner to issue individual or blanket variances to rules within the commissioner’s jurisdiction that do not affect health or safety.

Subdivision 5 requires the commissioner to provide notice of any exercise of authority under this section within 48 hours to the appropriate ombudsman, the legislature, and the public.

Subdivision 6 requires the commissioner 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency to issue a report with specific detail about the authority exercised under this section.

Section 14 [Medical Assistance Reimbursement for Temporary Alternative Health Care Facilities] requires the commissioner of human services to enroll any temporary health care facility established under this act as a medical assistance provider and establish a payment rate based on the existing hospital inpatient payment rate for services provided in an alternative health care facility.

Section 15 [ Telemedicine Coverage During the Peacetime Emergency]

Subdivision 1 requires health carriers to cover telemedicine services provided by licensed health care providers during the declared state peacetime emergency.

Subdivision 2 adds to the definition of licensed health care provider a mental health practitioner as defined under section 245.462, subdivision 17, or 245.4871, subdivision 26, who is working under the supervision of a mental health professional; and a respiratory care therapist licensed under chapter 147C who is providing respiratory care services in accordance with chapter 147C.

Subdivision 3 includes telephone conversations between a licensed health care provider and a patient to the definition of telemedicine.

Subdivision 4 specifies that a health carrier shall not deny or limit reimbursement solely on a provider delivering consultations or health care services by telemedicine instead of in person or on the mechanism or platform of telemedicine used by the provider, so long as the mechanism or platform allows for the delivery of telemedicine services as defined in section 62A.671 subd.9.

Section 16 [Deadlines Governing Proceedings in District and Appellate Courts Suspended During Peacetime Emergency] suspends the running of statutorily imposed deadlines governing proceedings in district and appellate courts beginning March 13, 2020, and for 60 days following the end of the peacetime emergency, or February 15, 2021, whichever is earlier.

Section 17 [Motions Contesting Child Support Cost-of-Living Adjustments] authorizes a child support obligor who received a notice of an intended cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) effective May 1, 2020, to file a motion contesting the COLA by June 30, 2020. Provides an extended filing date up to October 31, 2020, if the obligor was unable to file the motion in a timely manner due to circumstances related to COVID-19. Any adjustment is effective May 1, 2020, unless the court selects an alternative date. Based on information provided by the Department of Human Services, the estimated cost to implement this section is $69,000. This amount is not appropriated in the bill.

Section 18 [Public Health Emergency; Marriage License Application and Oath Without Appearance] authorizes each local registrar to develop and implement procedures to examine parties upon oath and accept civil marriage license applications by mail, fax, or electronic filing. An examination of the parties upon oath may include contemporaneous video or audio transmission or receipt of a verified statement signed by both parties. Provides an exemption from the requirement under current law that at least one party to the marriage appears in person.

Section 19 [Farmer-Lender Mediation Act extension] extends the time period for mediation proceedings under the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act to 150 days from 90 days for all mediation proceedings that have already begun and new ones where the mediation notice was filed before July 31, 2020. During the mediation period, all creditor actions to collect on the debt of farmers are suspended.

Section 20 [No Obligation to Post on Liquor Posting]  provides that the commissioner of revenue is not required to list taxpayers who are affected by executive orders closing restaurants, bars, or other similar places of public accommodation and are delinquent on income, sales, or local sales taxes on the liquor posting list. Under current law, wholesalers, manufacturers, and brewers are prohibited from selling or delivering products to a taxpayer on the list. Effective retroactively for taxes required to be paid and returns required to be filed after January 31, 2020, until four months after Emergency Executive Order No. 20-33 or related emergency executive order extending the closure of bars, restaurants, or other places of public accommodation is terminated, rescinded, or has expired.

ARTICLE 2

NON-COVID-19 POLICY

Section 1 [Passenger Automobile; Hearse] modifies the method for determining vehicle registration. Under current law, registration taxes are $10 plus 1.25 percent of the base value of a vehicle; base value is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the vehicle plus a destination charge. All existing vehicles continue to be registered using this method. For all new vehicles registered in Minnesota, the registration tax will be $10 plus 1.285 percent of the MSRP. MSRP is determined using one of the following methods, in order of priority:  (1) from information published by the manufacturer or any nationally recognized association compiling such data; (2) the amount determined by the dealer; (3) from the “Monroney sticker” or “window sticker” that lists the information about a car for sale; or (4) the actual sales price of the vehicle. The current depreciation schedule remains in place for all vehicles so that the value is depreciated by ten percent each year. The total registration tax paid must never be less than $35. This section is effective the earlier of January 1, 2021, or upon completing the programming for the changes.

Fiscal Impact: This section is projected to result in a loss of revenue to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund (HUTDF) of $225,000 in fiscal year 2021, and revenue increases to the HUTDF of $204,000 in fiscal year 2022 and $634,000 in fiscal year 2023.

Section 2 [Adjustments to Registration Tax] The commissioner of public safety must not adjust the MSRP or destination charge for any vehicle except as allowed by this section. The commissioner must adjust the MSRP or destination charge to correct an error or omission. If the tax is determined based on actual sales price, the commissioner must adjust the tax amount based on one of the other three methods within two years of the initial registration. The adjusted tax amount is effective for the next registration period and the commissioner must not collect any taxes that would have been paid but for the error or omission. The commissioner must notify the owner of a vehicle if the vehicle’s registration tax amount has been adjusted. This section is effective July 1, 2020.

Section 3 [Authorized Use, Fee] authorizes a coroner or medical examiner to access the criminal justice data communications network to identify a deceased person. Under current law, the criminal justice data communications network may be accessed only by entities with specific authorization.

ARTICLE 3

HUMAN SERVICES TECHNICAL AND IMPLEMENTATION CORRECTIONS

Sections 1 and 2 [245F.03; 245F.04, subdivision 5] exempt withdrawal management programs from administrative rules governing those programs, and require compliance with statutory provisions regarding admission, assessment, and placement of individuals seeking treatment.

Sections 3 and 4 [254A.03, subdivision 3; 254B.03, subdivision 1] grant an exemption from administrative rules to enable individuals receiving public assistance to obtain comprehensive assessments and facilitate direct access to substance use disorder or chemical dependency treatment services.

Section 5 [256B.0759, subdivision 3] makes technical conforming changes and modifies the requirement for providers participating in the waiver demonstration project regarding medication-assisted treatment services, requiring providers to offer those services on site or facilitate off-site access regardless of a client request for those services.

Section 6 [256B.0759, subdivision 4] revises provisions needed to implement the substance use disorder waiver demonstration project.

Paragraph (b) corrects the dates to be used for calculating and issuing reimbursement for substance use disorder services.

Paragraph (c) makes a technical conforming change and adds outpatient adolescent treatment programs to the list of providers eligible for reimbursement.

Paragraph (d) requires, beginning January 1, 2021, and with federal approval, managed care and county-based purchasing plans to reimburse providers at least using the fee-for-service base rate, and requires the commissioner to monitor the impact of those rates. Capitation rates must also reflect the impact of those rates.

Paragraph (e) requires, beginning January 1, 2021, and with federal approval, managed care and county-based purchasing plans to permit recovery of payments from providers participating in the demonstration project, if federal approval is not received and capitation rates are adjusted.

Section 7 [Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 14, section 2, subdivision 2] adds rider language omitted from the 2019 HHS budget bill relating to the expenditures that can be used to meet federal maintenance of effort requirements for the TANF program.

Section 8 [Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 14, section 2, subdivision 2a] adds rider language omitted from the 2019 HHS budget bill that establishes a maximum amount of working family credit expenditures that can be counted toward the federal maintenance of effort requirements for the TANF program.

Section 9 [Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 14, section 2, subdivision 24, paragraph (c)] moves the rider for emergency services grants to the correct location in the HHS budget bill. See section 10 below.

Section 10 [Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 14, section 2, subdivision 30] removes the rider for emergency services grants from the incorrect location in the HHS budget bill. See section 9 above.

Section 11 [Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 14, section 2, subdivision 31, paragraph (a)] adds a $100,000 appropriation in fiscal year 2020 to the rider for Certified Community Behavioral Health Center Expansion, which matches the actual appropriation made in fiscal year 2020.

Section 12 [Revival and Reenactment] revives and reenacts section 254B.03, subdivision 4a, as of July 1, 2019, to correct the mistaken effective date from the provision repealing that section in the 2019 legislative session.

Section 13 [Repealer] repeals section 245B.03, subdivision 4a, using the intended effective date of July 1, 2020, and repeals administrative rules governing chemical dependency treatment programs serving public assistance recipients effective July 1, 2022.

ARTICLE 4

HUMAN SERVICES FORECAST ADJUSTMENTS

Sections 1 and 2 [Human Services Forecast Adjustment] adjust the appropriations in the 2019 HHS budget bill to match the amounts in the February 2020 budget forecast. The all funds appropriations for the 2020-2021 biennium are reduced by $190.456 million.

 

 
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