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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 12, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021

Dear neighbors, 

Legislators are working remotely this session to protect our staff and constituents, but connecting with Minnesotans remains incredibly important. We do our best work with people who will be impacted by the policies that we’re crafting.  

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Rep. Ruth Richardson, Sen. Matt Klein, and I are holding a town hall to hear your questions, ideas, and feedback. You can join us on Zoom, a free video meeting platform on Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. To RSVP, please email amanda.pedersen@senate.mn and you’ll receive an email with the information you’ll need to access the town hall.  


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On Tuesday, I spoke with the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association at an event hosted by Katie Lee, PhD Post-Doctoral Associate; the University of Minnesota’s Department of Entomology and Bee Lab; and Dr. Marla Spivak.  


Protecting Minnesotans from Harmful Chemicals 

On Wednesday, I joined the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and some of my colleagues to unveil a statewide strategy to protect Minnesotans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down, PFAS can build up in the environment and in the human body. This can lead to negative health effects.  

Several state agencies developed the comprehensive plan to prevent PFAS contamination and ensure polluted sites are cleaned up. The steps include designating PFAS as hazardous substances, requiring facilities to disclose information on PFAS and other contaminants, identifying potential sources of PFAS in the environment, protecting Minnesotans from contaminated fish, and evaluating potential treatment options for drinking water and farm land. You can find more information, including the full list of recommendations, here.   


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Yesterday, the House Capital Investment Committee heard my bill to help cities reduce their inflow and infiltration – the amount of groundwater and stormwater that flows into sewers. Thank you to West St. Paul Councilor Julie Eastman for testifying in support of HF 402.  


Vaccine Distribution Update  

In my last legislative update, I outlined how Minnesotans who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can find an available appointment and urged folks to remain patient as public health experts work to get the vaccine out to those most at-risk as quickly as possible. More opportunities will become available as the federal government gradually increases the supply of vaccines. The vaccine will also be available in more locations. Starting this week, eligible Minnesotans can receive vaccines at pharmacies across the state, including several Walmart and Sam’s Club locations.  

COVID-19 trends in Minnesota are headed in the right direction, with case numbers and positivity rates trending downward. Threats remain, however, including new variants of the virus. Please keep wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings to protect yourself and others so we can close this chapter as quickly as possible.  


As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments that you’d like to share. You can reach me by email at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or call 651-296-4165.  

Sincerely,  

Rick Hansen  
State Representative 

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