To suspend through the end of 2020 various limits, restrictions and requirements related to collecting state unemployment insurance benefits for layoffs related to the epidemic. Among other things benefits would be payable for up to 26 weeks instead of 20 weeks; benefit payments would not be assessed against an employer’s unemployment insurance account; workers would not have to seek another job while collecting benefits; “work-sharing” plans would be allowed; eligibility restrictions would be eased and more. The bill also clarifies that individuals who are independent contractors were eligible for benefits as of March 15, 2020. The bill is "tie-barred" to other bills extending epidemic-related liability protections to employers and other institutions, meaning it cannot become law unless they also become law.
To prohibit admitting an individual who has tested positive for coronavirus to a nursing home unless it can provide a designated area for coronavirus patients, with staff retraining to provide the appropriate level of care necessary, and with various exceptions. The bill would also order an evaluation of the COVID-19 "hospital overflow" facilities the state contracted for early in the epidemic, which were hardly used.
To permit and establish rules for a public body to hold meetings electronically, with members and votes considered to have met the usual requirements, and a requirement that members of the public be allowed to participate by phone or electronically. The bill would also require public bodies to accommodate the participation of a member who is absent due to a medical condition or a statewide or locally declared state of emergency.
To permit state grants of up to $5 million each to local broadband developers that meet specified criteria. The entities looking to enter this market and applying for a grant would have to demonstrate a genuine demand exists that is not being served by private vendors, and that they are capable of executing the venture without the cost-overruns and revenue shortfalls. The week before this vote the legislature approved a state budget that authorizes $14.3 million state taxpayer dollars for these subsidies in the 2020-21 fiscal year.