Minnesota State Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls voted in favor of a bill to require counties receive federal COVID-19 relief funds based on population.

The Minnesota Senate Tuesday approved legislation to fairly distribute the share of federal COVID-19 funds to be used to help local governments. The agreement distributes the government portion of that funding — about $841 million — to Minnesota counties, cities, and townships based on a formula using their population. 

Senator Gary Dahms, of Redwood Falls, said “This bill is the result of a lot of hard work and effort towards evenhandedness. The people of rural Minnesota need a guarantee that they will be given what they are due and not shortchanged once again in favor of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This legislation fills that requirement and will put relief funds exactly where they should be.”

Minnesota received more than $2 billion from the federal government to help local governments, health professionals, and businesses fight COVID. That money went into an account called the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, so it could be quickly deployed to places it is needed most. 

However, Governor Tim Walz currently has the sole authority over the federal coronavirus aid. Concerns have been raised by legislators about both the governor’s transparency and accountability in how the aid is distributed.