The Potluck

Legislature taking up COVID-19 tweaks to help with marriage licenses, drivers licenses

By: - April 13, 2020 2:46 pm

Photo courtesy of Minnesota History Center.

The Minnesota Legislature will take up a number of minor tweaks intended to ease the disruption of COVID-19 to day-to-day aspects of life.

They include a time extension to out-out-state drivers licenses, and allowing people to get marriage licenses without in-person appearances.  Lawmakers will also take up affordable insulin legislation after the issue first failed to pass during the 2019 legislative session.

Tuesday’s legislative actions are minor compared with the big funding packages lawmakers have recently approved, including a $330 million COVID-19 emergency  pacakage. The Legislature had previously approved $200 million in hospital funding. 

Under the bill, Minnesotans will also be given an additional 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency to drive with a license from another jurisdiction before having to apply for a Minnesota license. The bill also allows for increased flexibility in applying for a commercial driver’s license. 

Some uninsured individuals would also be eligible for free COVID-19 testing under the bill, though this provision requires federal approval. 

The bill also loosens restrictions for Minnesota’s open meeting laws to allow governing bodies to take votes remotely. 

Coverage for telemedicine is also laid out in the bill, including a provision that prohibits insurance companies to deny coverage if a service is provided remotely rather than in-person. 

Among the most anticipated actions Tuesday is a vote on an insulin affordability bill, which follows almost a year of back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature.

Legislative leaders announced last week that a conference committee had worked out the differences between House and Senate bills.


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Madeline Deninger
Madeline Deninger

Madeline Deninger is a junior at the University of Minnesota. She covers for politics and state government for Minnesota Reformer as a Kaufman Fellow. She currently serves as city editor of the university's campus newspaper, Minnesota Daily. She's also worked at WCCO-TV and American Public Media.