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HF 88

1st Engrossment - 91st Legislature, 2020 1st Special Session (2019 - 2020) Posted on 06/17/2020 12:22pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to state government; establishing a special master panel to make awards
to compensate for damages suffered by certain persons resulting from the civil
unrest during May and June of 2020; appropriating money.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. new text beginPURPOSE; EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR DAMAGE DUE TO
CIVIL UNREST.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Legislative findings. new text end

new text begin (a) The legislature recognizes the civil unrest that
occurred in Minnesota in May and June of 2020. While the immediate cause of the unrest
was the apparent murder of George Floyd by an officer of the Minneapolis Police
Department, it was compounded by other long-standing structural systems of inequality
and racism within the city, state, and nation. The legislature finds that the resulting protests
and acts of civil disobedience were largely a peaceful exercise of first amendment rights:
a genuine expression of grief at the death of Mr. Floyd and frustration and anger at the lack
of an adequate mechanism for communities long unheard or ignored by public institutions
to have their voices heard and meaningful action be taken as a result.
new text end

new text begin (b) The legislature further recognizes that some acts of protest and civil disobedience,
occurring among a small minority of participants, led to severe destruction or damage to
small businesses and other private property in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other areas of the
state. In many cases, the damage and destruction impacted businesses and locations owned,
managed, or frequented by those communities that the acts of protest and civil disobedience
were intended to uplift. The physical and psychological toll from this devastation is immense
and touches all Minnesotans.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Intent of award process. new text end

new text begin The award process established by this act is intended
to provide a onetime disaster assistance payment so that persons economically impacted by
the civil unrest are able to cover losses that are not eligible for compensation through
insurance policies. It furthers the public interest by ensuring affected communities have
access to immediate resources that allow them to regroup and rebuild, while minimizing
the uncertainty and expense of navigating complex and protracted administrative procedures
to seek relief.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginDEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Application. new text end

new text begin The definitions in this section apply to this act.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Damage. new text end

new text begin "Damage" means the following types of damage which are reasonably
the result of the civil unrest that occurred during the period of May 25, 2020, to June 8,
2020:
new text end

new text begin (1) physical damage to structures or personal property located within an eligible zone;
and
new text end

new text begin (2) economic damage impacting business operations within an eligible zone including
but not limited to a business' lost inventory, and a business employee's lost wages or benefits.
new text end

new text begin Damage does not include the loss of future expected earnings, attorney fees, or other fees
incurred by an eligible person in applying for an award under this act.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Eligible person. new text end

new text begin (a) "Eligible person" means:
new text end

new text begin (1) a nonprofit organization or a for-profit business located in an eligible zone, including
any employee of that organization or business;
new text end

new text begin (2) an individual who owns real property within an eligible zone; or
new text end

new text begin (3) an individual who resides in an eligible zone.
new text end

new text begin (b) A for-profit business is not an eligible person if it employs more than the equivalent
of 50 full-time employees.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Eligible zone. new text end

new text begin "Eligible zone" means:
new text end

new text begin (1) in Minneapolis:
new text end

new text begin (i) Lake Street between Hennepin Avenue and West River Parkway, and any area within
two city blocks of that portion of Lake Street in any direction; and
new text end

new text begin (ii) West Broadway Avenue, and any area within two city blocks of West Broadway
Avenue in any direction;
new text end

new text begin (2) in Saint Paul, University Avenue between Rice Street and Highway 280, and any
area within two city blocks of that portion of University Avenue in any direction; and
new text end

new text begin (3) any additional locations or zones designated by the governor as experiencing
significant, widespread damage or destruction of private property due to the civil unrest
described in section 1.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Award. new text end

new text begin "Award" means a onetime payment of money to an eligible person in
response to a properly submitted claim for disaster assistance under this act. An award is
not a grant for purposes of Minnesota Statutes, sections 16B.97 to 16B.991, or other
applicable law or rules governing grant administration, and does not constitute a payment
from a public benefit program for purposes of any applicable federal or state law.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Panel. new text end

new text begin "Panel" means the special master panel established in this act.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginCONSIDERATION AND PAYMENT OF DAMAGE AWARDS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Special master panel; appointment. new text end

new text begin (a) The governor shall establish a
special master panel to consider claims and determine awards for disaster assistance to
eligible persons on behalf of the state. The panel must be established by July 1, 2020. The
panel must consist of at least three and not more than nine attorneys appointed by the
governor. In making appointments, the governor must consult with members of the legislature
whose districts include an eligible zone and ensure that the appointees are knowledgeable
and representative of the impacted communities. Members of the panel must have experience
in legal and business issues involving the calculation and determination of damages in a
judicial setting. The governor shall designate one member of the panel to serve as chair.
new text end

new text begin (b) Within available appropriations, the commissioner of management and budget shall
determine the pay and expenses to be received by the panel. A member's total pay, not
including expenses, may not exceed $25,000. The chair of the panel shall forward
documentation of salaries, expenses, and administrative costs incurred to the commissioner
of management and budget for payment of those amounts.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Staff; community outreach. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner of management and budget,
in consultation with the panel, may hire employees or retain consultants necessary to assist
the panel in performing its duties under this section. Employees are in the unclassified state
civil service. The panel may also use consultants who are under a contract with the state or
current state employees to assist the panel in processing claims under this section.
new text end

new text begin (b) The panel must engage one or more nonprofit organizations with a primary mission
to serve communities located within each eligible zone to assist the panel in publicizing the
award opportunity provided by this act, and to provide technical assistance to applicants in
submitting a claim.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin General duties; procedure. new text end

new text begin The panel shall consider claims for damages and
determine award amounts as authorized by this section. The panel may adopt and modify
procedures, rules, and forms for receiving and considering claims, provided that the panel
must allow each eligible person who submits a claim to appear electronically or in person
before the panel or one of its members to describe the claim and respond to questions.
Procedures and rules of the panel are not rules for purposes of Minnesota Statutes, chapter
14.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Deadlines. new text end

new text begin To be eligible to receive an award, an eligible person must file a
claim with the panel by September 1, 2020. On a case-by-case basis, the panel may accept
claims that are received after this deadline. The panel must make an award determination
for each claim no later than March 1, 2021.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Calculation of award amount. new text end

new text begin (a) The panel shall determine a base award for
each eligible person that reflects the total damages incurred as described in the claim.
Damage that qualifies for compensation through an applicable insurance policy must be
excluded from the base award. After a base award is established, the panel may provide an
equity adjustment to increase or decrease the award, based on a review of the totality of the
eligible person's circumstances. Before any claim is reviewed for an award determination,
the panel must establish a reasonable maximum award amount that applies equally to all
eligible persons.
new text end

new text begin (b) The panel may not make an award determination for any eligible person until all
claims filed prior to the deadline established in subdivision 4 have been considered. Claims
arriving after the deadline may only be considered for an award after all awards for timely
claim filings have been determined.
new text end

new text begin (c) If the total amount of awards determined for all eligible persons exceeds the available
appropriation, the panel must make awards on a pro rata basis.
new text end

new text begin (d) The panel must not consider negligence or any other theory of liability on the part
of the eligible person or any other party in making an award determination.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Payment. new text end

new text begin The panel shall promptly forward to the commissioner of management
and budget documentation of each award amount determined under this section. The
commissioner of management and budget shall pay that amount to the eligible person within
30 days after receiving the documentation and in the order in which the documentation from
the panel was received.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Immunity; indemnification. new text end

new text begin Members of the panel, employees, and consultants
acting under the direction of the panel are employees of the state for purposes of Minnesota
Statutes, section 3.736.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Data practices; meetings. new text end

new text begin (a) Data collected, created, or maintained by the
panel related to a claim filed by an eligible person are private data on individuals, as defined
in Minnesota Statutes, section 13.02, subdivision 12, or nonpublic data, as defined in
Minnesota Statutes, section 13.02, subdivision 9, except for:
new text end

new text begin (1) the name of an eligible person to whom an award is paid; and
new text end

new text begin (2) the amount awarded to that person.
new text end

new text begin (b) Data created by a member of the panel related to the member's service as a member
of the panel are not discoverable in any civil or administrative proceeding except a record
relating to any statement or conduct that may constitute a crime.
new text end

new text begin (c) Meetings of the panel are not subject to Minnesota Statutes, chapter 13D.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Effect of awards process. new text end

new text begin (a) A determination by the panel regarding an award
is final and not subject to judicial review.
new text end

new text begin (b) The amount of damages incurred by an eligible person as calculated by the panel,
or the eligible person's award determination, may not be used in a subsequent court
proceeding in evidence or otherwise to determine any rights, duties, or responsibilities of
the state, the eligible person, or any other party.
new text end

new text begin (c) A member of the panel must not testify in any civil or administrative proceeding
regarding any matter involving or arising out of the member's service as a member of the
panel, except as to a statement or conduct that may constitute a crime.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text beginRELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAW.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin No state liability or duty created. new text end

new text begin The establishment of the award process
in this act is not an admission of liability by the state or a municipality or their employees
and does not establish a duty of the state, a municipality, or their employees to compensate
eligible persons for damage. The creation and funding of the compensation process under
this act is not admissible in a judicial or administrative proceeding to establish liability or
a legal duty.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Payments as additional compensation. new text end

new text begin Payments made under this section are
intended to supplement and be in addition to any payments required to be made by a third
party under law or contract.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Payments from other sources. new text end

new text begin (a) Notwithstanding any statutory or common
law or agreement to the contrary, a person who is not a third-party tortfeasor and who is
required to make payments to an eligible person may not eliminate or reduce those payments
as a result of compensation paid under this act. The obligation of any person other than the
state to make payments to an eligible person is primary as compared to any payment made
or to be made under this act. The persons referenced in and covered by this subdivision
include, without limitation:
new text end

new text begin (1) reparation obligors, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 65B.43, subdivision
9
, whether they are insurers or self-insurers;
new text end

new text begin (2) health plan companies, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 62Q.01, subdivision
4
;
new text end

new text begin (3) insurance companies, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 60A.02, subdivision
4
;
new text end

new text begin (4) self-insured pools of political subdivisions organized under Minnesota Statutes,
section 471.617 or 471.981, including service cooperatives pools organized under Minnesota
Statutes, section 123A.21;
new text end

new text begin (5) risk retention groups, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 60E.02, subdivision
12
;
new text end

new text begin (6) joint self-insurance plans governed by Minnesota Statutes, chapter 60F;
new text end

new text begin (7) joint self-insurance plans and multiple-employer welfare arrangements, governed
by Minnesota Statutes, chapter 62H, including agricultural cooperative health plans under
Minnesota Statutes, section 62H.18;
new text end

new text begin (8) workers' compensation insurers and private self-insurers, as defined in Minnesota
Statutes, section 79.01;
new text end

new text begin (9) the Minnesota Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association governed by
Minnesota Statutes, chapter 61B;
new text end

new text begin (10) the Minnesota Insurance Guaranty Association governed by Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 60C;
new text end

new text begin (11) the Minnesota Joint Underwriting Association governed by Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 62I;
new text end

new text begin (12) all insurers providing credit life, credit accident and health, and credit involuntary
unemployment insurance under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 62B, but also including those
coverages written in connection with real estate mortgage loans and those provided to
borrowers at no additional cost;
new text end

new text begin (13) the Minnesota unemployment insurance program provided under Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 268;
new text end

new text begin (14) coverage offered by the state under medical assistance and MinnesotaCare; and
new text end

new text begin (15) any other plan providing health, life, disability income, or long-term care coverage.
new text end

new text begin (b) A third-party tortfeasor who is required to make payments, including future payments,
to an eligible person may not eliminate or reduce those payments as a result of compensation
paid to an eligible person under this act.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Qualification for public assistance programs. new text end

new text begin Payments made to eligible
persons under this act shall not be counted as income, assets, or resources for purposes of
determining eligibility for health care, income maintenance, and assistance programs under
Minnesota Statutes, chapters 119B, 256B, 256D, 256I, 256J, 256L, and 256S, for eligible
persons and their households. The commissioner of human services shall seek any federal
approvals necessary to exclude payments made to eligible persons when determining
eligibility for a program that receives federal funding or a federal match, in order to continue
to receive that federal funding or federal match for services provided to eligible persons
and their households. Until and unless federal approval to exclude payments to eligible
persons when determining eligibility for a specific federal program is obtained, the
commissioner shall provide health coverage or income or other assistance under that program
using state-only dollars, to eligible persons and their households who otherwise meet program
eligibility requirements.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 5. new text beginAPPROPRIATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Compensation to eligible persons. new text end

new text begin $125,000,000 in fiscal year 2021 is
appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of management and budget for the
purpose of making awards to eligible persons as authorized by this act. This is a onetime
appropriation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Administrative expenses. new text end

new text begin $5,000,000 in fiscal year 2021 is appropriated from
the general fund to the commissioner of management and budget to pay salaries, expenses,
and administrative costs of the special master panel, including any costs associated with
consultants or other staff, necessary to make award determinations under this act. This is a
onetime appropriation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Report. new text end

new text begin No later than April 15, 2021, the commissioner of management and
budget must submit a report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative
committees with jurisdiction over finance and ways and means on the expenditure of funds
appropriated under this section. The report must list the amount of compensation paid to
each eligible person and must detail any administrative expenses incurred by the special
master in conducting its work.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end