Rep. Jay Xiong Continues Work On COVID-19 Response
By Gina Vega
Representative Jay Xiong (DFL-St. Paul) continues his work with his colleagues in the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s office to respond to the rapidly-evolving spread of COVID-19, known as the Coronavirus.
On March 17, the Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed emergency COVID-19 health care funding, which provides $200 million in investments for a health care response fund and Minnesota’s public health response contingency account.
On March 21, Governor Walz Governor Walz issued executive orders to safeguard critical services for the state’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 20-11 authorizes the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to seek federal authority to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements for federal programs, including the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Medical Assistance, and MinnesotaCare, to ensure these programs continue providing necessary support to Minnesota families.
Executive Order 20-12 allows DHS to temporarily issue waivers or modifications to state requirements to ensure that their services can be delivered to Minnesotans safely and without undue delay, protecting vulnerable Minnesotans and those who care for them. DHS provides health care coverage, programs, and services for over 1 million Minnesotans, including groups likely to be significantly impacted by COVID-19 such as older adults, individuals who have disabilities, families with children, and individuals with mental illness.
Nationwide reporting shows price-gouging of goods and services is on the rise. Scam artists are exploiting public anxieties surrounding COVID-19 to victimize consumers. Emerging scams include:
- Setting up websites to sell bogus products, fake COVID-19 vaccines, and other unproven treatments,
- Using fake emails, texts, and social media posts to deceptively solicit “donations” for victims, and
- Imposter scams where scammers send malicious emails impersonating government agencies such as the CDC in hopes that you will click on a link, and thereby download malicious software that will give the scammer access to your personal or financial information.
Rep. Jay Xiong has been working on legislation to protect Minnesotans’ economic security via a price gouging ban during a peacetime emergency. Governor Walz issued an Executive Order putting the ban into place yesterday.
“Taking advantage of the fears of Minnesotans for a profit during a time of public health crisis is unconscionable,” remarked Rep. Xiong. “All Minnesotans deserve equitable access to the products and goods they need during this challenging time.”
Small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 can now apply online for low interest business loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. These are administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Details include:
- This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits.
- These loans can go toward working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments that can’t be paid due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The non-profit rate is 2.75%.
- These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years.
For more information visit the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan web page.
Representative Xiong encourages constituents to contact him anytime if they need assistance or have questions. He can be reached at 651-296-4201 or by email at rep.jay.xiong@mn.