A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first detected in China in late 2019 and the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, rapidly spread through most countries of the world in the first months of 2020. Minnesota reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 6, 2020. On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the spread of this disease a global pandemic. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency in Minnesota on March 13, 2020. On that same day, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.
The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government in Minnesota quickly began to respond to the spread of COVID-19 in the state. On March 26, 2020 the Legislature passed HF4531 to create a COVID-19 response fund, and along with it a legislative commission with some oversight over that fund.
The "COVID-19 Minnesota fund" is created in the state treasury to pay expenditures related to a peacetime emergency declared by the governor in Executive Order 20-01 that relates to the infectious disease known as COVID-19. Money in the fund is appropriated to the commissioner of management and budget and may be disbursed or transferred to state agencies as necessary to (1) protect Minnesota citizens from the COVID-19 outbreak, and (2) maintain state government operations throughout the duration of the peacetime emergency.
Originally, any money in the fund that remained unobligated on May 11, 2020, canceled to the general fund. Laws of Minnesota 2020, chap. 81 extended that date to December 31, 2020.
More details about the commission's oversight role are described in Laws of Minnesota 2020, chap. 71, art. 1, sec. 7, subd. 2.