Neighbors and Friends,
Housing issues continue to be a prominent part of my work at the Capitol this legislative session. There are many advocates and lawmakers working to address this difficult, but important issue of housing insecurity and homelessness. As we know, nothing goes right without a safe place to call home.
Among the bills presented this week in the Housing Finance and Policy committee, of which I chair, was HF 900, a proposal creating a task force to help ensure a safe, dignified, and respectful experience for everyone staying in a homeless shelter. HF 1860, provides housing assistance for individuals with very low incomes and a serious mental illness or very low-income families where at least one adult has a serious mental illness while they wait for Section 8 or other rental subsidies. In HF 1901, a nonprofit based out of Duluth, seeks to work toward creating dormitory communities for everyone to be able to access sustainable and affordable housing, through a number of key programs and tools. This bill was supported by many on the committee as a blueprint to be used elsewhere in the state.
In Judiciary Finance and Policy Committee, I presented HF 12, which addresses the transition from the current residential eviction moratorium, and clarifies the process and procedures surrounding evictions during and immediately after the peacetime emergency ends. One testifier said the eviction moratorium has saved 2,000 lives by making sure they are housed during the pandemic.
You can learn more about the Housing Finance and Policy Committee, review our agenda, and view past meetings on the House website committee page.
Summer Learning Package Advances
This week, the House Education Finance Committee advanced a measure to fund a summer learning package for Minnesota students from cradle to career.
The bill addresses learning loss by expanding access to tutoring, investing in field trips and hands-on learning, and implementing summer programs for preschoolers, high schoolers, and adult basic education.
The measure also funds student mental health support. A key provision in the legislation prioritizes school districts that have experienced declining enrollment.
Vaccine administration has picked up significantly and a milestone was reached this week with Minnesota administering more than two million COVID-19 vaccine doses. This is a result of increased doses from the federal government and expanded capacity to administer the vaccine.
Eligibility for vaccines has been expanded. To determine when you can receive your vaccine, contact your health plan, and make sure you are signed up with the Vaccine Connector.
The Minnesota Department of Health has released a video with frequently asked questions about development of the vaccine.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Last week, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help millions across the country recover from the impact of the pandemic. You can learn more about this historic assistance package from the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL).
The House has expanded the number of simultaneous committees it can?webcast live?from a maximum of two to five, so you can stay current on issues moving through committees this budget session.
Also, the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.
I welcome your questions and comments anytime. You can call me at (651) 296-3824 or send an email at email@example.com.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the legislature.