Minnesota House Advances Illegal-Alien Stimulus Bill
By David Jaroslav | FAIR Take | May 2020
As California begins distributing COVID-19 stimulus checks to illegal aliens, other states are looking to follow suit. The Minnesota legislature is now also considering legislation to provide stimulus funds to illegal aliens.
On April 30, House File (HF) 4611 was introduced by Representative Aisha Gomez (D-Minneapolis) in the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives. A companion bill, Senate File (SF) 4540, was introduced by Senator Melisa Franzen (D-Edina) in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate. Each bill would:
- authorize “emergency community relief grants” of up to $1,500 per person, “depend[ing] on the individual needs of the household, taking into consideration other resources that an individual or household is eligible to receive;”
- base eligibility for the grants on ineligibility for unemployment insurance or federal stimulus funds;
- make “community action agencies” into pass-through entities to award and distribute the grants; and
- appropriate $50 million to fund the grants.
The Senate bill has not moved at all since it was introduced, leading one observer to speculate that it “has no chance of drawing broad support in the politically divided Legislature.”
On the other hand, the House bill rapidly passed thru one committee after another – Jobs and Economic Development on May 12, Rules and Legislative Administration on May 13, and Ways and Means on May 15. In each committee it was supported by testimony from various open-borders groups. The bill was then placed on Second Reading which meant that it could have been brought up for debate and a vote on the House floor at any time.
The legislature adjourned on May 18 without considering the “stimulus funds” for illegal aliens bill. With the legislature leaving much of its business unfinished, a special session appears likely. Governor Tim Walz (D) has tentatively floated June 12 as the start date for the special session, although this is still subject to change.
In Minnesota, bills do not “carry over” from a regular session to a special session. Rather, they must be reintroduced. However, rules requiring bills to pass through committees and to have multiple “readings” on the floor on separate days are often waived during special session. So it is possible that HF 4611 or a similar bill similar could be introduced and pass the House very quickly in a special session, possibly even all in one day, leaving only the Senate to stop it.
Gov. Walz has not indicated whether he supports the “stimulus funding” bill for illegal aliens. Since he campaigned on making Minnesota a sanctuary state, if it passed both chambers, he would likely not veto it.