Influential Democratic lawmakers want one billion of the state’s expected 7.7-billion-dollar surplus to expand COVID bonuses for front-line workers — 15-hundred dollars for each of 667-thousand Minnesota workers classified as “essential.”  Senator Erin Murphy from Saint Paul says before lawmakers think about other ways to use the surplus…

“The first thing we must do is honor commitments — our commitment to front-line workers — and given the enormity of that surplus, there is not a reason why not.”

Republican Senator Karin Housley from Stillwater responds lawmakers should act now to distribute the 250 million dollars already allocated:

“The Democrat proposal puts us right back at square one, restarting the whole process….  It could be another year before any of these front-line workers that so, so deserve their bonus checks, it could be another year before they get it.”

(A dispute between Republicans and Governor Tim Walz over Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm derailed a planned special session.  The next regular session convenes at the end of January.)