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Minnesota frontline worker bonus pay amount yet to be decided; GOP says $1,200

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ST. PAUL, (KTTC) -- Minnesota frontline workers could soon get bonus pay from the state.

Lawmakers have $250 million dollars from the federal government's American Rescue Plan that they can use to distribute among individual essential workers statewide.

A committee called the Frontline Worker Pay Working Group is taking the lead on this initiative.

"We feel a meaningful amount for these folks would be $1,200 this bonus shows our gratitude to these critical care workers, who put themselves most at risk to keep the rest of us safe and healthy," said Sen. Karin Housley, (R) Stillwater.

Republicans want to give that money to a certain group of essential workers who could not work remotely during the pandemic.

"Long-term caregivers, nursing home employees, PCAs, first responders, correctional officers," Housley said.

Meanwhile, DFLers hope for a different amount.

"The plan that the democrats had for people was back before the labor day deadline was a $1,500 amount," said Rep. Liz Boldon, (DFL) Rochester.

Boldon isn't on the committee for the bonus pay but tells us DFLers want more frontline workers included than the GOP members listed.

"I think what's important to note the difference in the proposals is that who is included, and who is not include," Boldon said. "Nurses and PCAs and nursing assistants... definitely, they should be included in this. We should also widen that net... child care providers, teachers, food service workers."

GOPers say to distribute the $250 million among the broadened groups DFLers prefer would give essential workers a low amount for a bonus check.

"The problem with that is that they were going to publically say, that they were giving people $1,500 but when you divided that out by their eligible pool workers. Then we're looking at about $200. That's a bait and switch. We cannot do that to Minnesotans," said Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, (R) North Branch.

DFL Rep. Cedrick Fraizer, of New Hope, who's also on the committee to decide the bonus for frontline workers, responded to the GOP's proposal saying:

"The Republican proposal insults and discounts the sacrifices of the other frontline workers they leave out."

Locally, GOP senators Carla Nelson of Rochester, and Jeremy Miller of Winona have both expressed support for the GOP's proposal to give $1,200 to certain frontline workers.

The committee consists of three DFLers and three Republicans. The committee will have to come to an agreement before the decision can move forward to the rest of the legislature.

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KaMaria Braye

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