October 13, 2020

Fairview cuts include Bethesda, St. Joseph’s hospitals; 900 jobs to be lost

Fairview Health announced a dramatic downsizing of hospital and clinic operations on Monday to stem financial losses, including the shutdown of the 90-bed Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul that had been converted in March to treat COVID-19 patients. (more…)

September 22, 2020

Vatican says those who choose euthanasia cannot receive sacraments

As several countries throughout Europe move toward broadening access to euthanasia, the Vatican released a new document reaffirming its teaching on medically assisted death, insisting that it is ‘poisonous’ to society and stressed that those who choose it are unable to access the sacraments unless they reverse their decision.  (more…)

September 17, 2020

Catholic Health Association weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine

Amid heated discussion and ongoing debate on a COVID-19 vaccine — how soon it will be available and who should get it — the Catholic Health Association has a lot to say. (more…)

August 13, 2020

Primary Election Results – DFL Shakeup

Tuesday was Primary Election Day in Minnesota, there were several highly contested primaries across the state involving both congressional and legislative races.  With a record number of absentee ballots being cast, and a quarter of the 644,000 absentee ballots requested but not yet returned, the final votes will not be known for days.  Ballots postmarked on August 11th will have two days to still be received and counted.  However, given the margin of victory in most races it is likely only a couple of close legislative primaries could be impacted by the delay.  (more…)
July 23, 2020

Statewide Mask Mandated

Governor Walz has issued a state-wide mask mandate.  The mandate will go into effect at 11:59 pm, on Friday July 24th.  The order will remain in effect until the peacetime emergency declared in Executive Order 20-01 is terminated or rescinded by proper authority.  The following link will take you to the Governor’s order.  The 15-page document contains great detail on the mandate, enforcement and exemptions.  (more…)
July 21, 2020

Special Session II

Early this morning, both the Minnesota House and Senate adjourned Sine Die bringing to an end Special Session II.  The Legislature will likely return for a third Special Session in mid-August, when Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order once again expires.  When Special Session II began, there were hopes the Legislature and Walz Administration could reach an agreement on legislation related to bonding, a supplemental budget, taxes and law enforcement reforms.  Similar to Special Session I, the Minnesota Senate set a deadline for completion of any work and promised to adjourn by midnight on July 20th.  The Senate missed their deadline by a couple of hours.  (more…)
April 5, 2020

CHA-MN Local COVID-19 Update of March 5

A quick recap of Coronavirus related news from the past week.  As a reminder, the Governor’s 14-day Stay at Home order went into effect at 11:59 pm, one week ago today.  While the Governor has continued to put in place a number of Executive Orders, most have been revisions to his previous orders.  Today, Governor Walz reached the end of his own 14-day self-quarantine, which was the result of exposure to someone on his executive protection team who contracted the Coronavirus.  (more…)
April 5, 2020

Points to Consider: Triage in the Perspective of Catholic Bioethics

Over the past several months, the virus causing COVID-19 disease has been spreading silently throughout the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of people. COVID-19 already has killed over eighteen thousand people worldwide, and it threatens to hospitalize and kill countless more as well as to overwhelm systems of health care delivery. As the pandemic spreads in breadth and depth, people are beginning to call for programs of triage and rationing of health care. How should Catholic health care professionals and administrators address these issues? (more…)

March 26, 2020

Stay at Home Directive in Minnesota

Governor Walz issued an order most Minnesotans have been expecting for days.  Effective Friday, March 27th at 11:59 pm, Minnesota residents are ordered to “Stay at Home” until Friday, April 10th at 5 pm.  The Executive Order 20-20 provides exemptions for Critical Sectors, as defined in the US Department of Homeland Security CISA Guidance and a number of additional categories.  Attached is the Order 20-20 along with a document provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which lists Critical Industries by NAICS Code.  Order 20-20 provides exemptions for the following activities:  Relocation to ensure safety, Health and safety activities, Outdoor activities, Necessary supplies and services, Essential intra and inter state travel, care of others and displacement.  

The following webpage has been created by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to assist employers and employees in determining whether their business or job is an essential service.  The website also provides a process for businesses to request an exemption to the Governor’s order.

DEED Critical Industry

The most important take away from today’s announcement – if you can continue your business operations remotely, you can keep your business open.  If you need help trying to navigate the Governor’s Order, or the process for requesting an exemption please let me know.

The Governor also announced he has amended two previous executive orders.  Executive Order 20-18, amends the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04 and extends the closing of bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment facilities until 5 pm on May 1st.  Executive Order 20-19, amends the Governor’s Executive Order 20-01, and extends school closings until May 4th.  This order also directs all schools to begin implementing “distance learning”.

Other items of interest announced during the Governor’s now daily 2pm press event

  • Unemployment claims now exceed 164,000, women have been disproportionally impacted according to a DEED analysis of the filings.
  • 287 confirmed cases, 26 hospitalizations and 1 death.  6,365 tests have been conducted.
  • A violation of the “Stay at Home” order is punishable by a $1,000 fine or imprisonment of not more than 90 days.

Legislative Updates

On Thursday, the Minnesota Legislature will return to St. Paul for a brief session.  The House is set to start at noon and the Senate plans to start at 2 pm.  House and Senate Committees have been holding informal working group meetings for the past week.  Issue area leads and Committee Chairs have been limiting participation in the discussions to keep from triggering Minnesota’s open meeting laws.  The discussions have been conducted by conference calls and Zoom.  After substantial backlash from Minnesota reporters, the House released the following webpage with details regarding legislative activity during the recess.

Minnesota House COVID-19 Updates

House and Senate Leadership have promised to post the COVID-19 bill scheduled for Thursday’s debate once it is finalized.  Leadership is also working on plans for managing the floor sessions, while also recognizing the Minnesota Department of Health’s social distancing guidelines.  The House has announced there will be no public access to the second floor of the Capitol during the session.  Reporter access will also be limited, and there are no plans for the Legislature to hold any hearings on what is projected to be a massive piece of legislation with a price tag that may near $350 million.

The House and Senate Sessions will be available online at the following links.

House Floor Session

Senate Floor Session

These are challenging times for all us, we are trying our best to keep everyone updated in an environment that changes numerous times each and every day.

March 15, 2020

Governor’s Executive Order

This afternoon Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-01.  The authority of the Executive Order will expire after 5 days unless it is approved by the Executive Council.  (more…)