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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL)

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Legislative Update – March 9, 2021

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Last week, local elected officials, members of the business community, civic leaders, and area residents came together for the annual Duluth & St. Louis County Days at the Capitol. This is always a great opportunity to amplify our region’s collective voice at the Capitol to help me and my fellow members of the Duluth legislative delegation deliver results for our community. While this year’s event was virtual, it was still an important way to show the rest of the Legislature that while Duluth is separated from the Capitol by distance, people are engaged in our work to strengthen opportunities in our community.


Vaccine Eligibility Expanded

Now eligible

Today, Governor Walz announced good news: we’ve met our benchmark of 70 percent of those Minnesotans 65 or older receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, a goal the governor originally set for the end of March. Accordingly, he announced new expanded vaccine eligibility guidelines taking effect this week.

More than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week, including these priority groups:

  • Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD & CHF)
  • Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
  • Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness

Also eligible are those from the next tier including:

  • Minnesotans age 45 years and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC
  • Minnesotans age 16 years and older with two or more underlying medical conditions*
  • Minnesotans age 50 years and older in multi-generational housing
  • Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, and U.S. Postal Service workers

If you still haven’t, sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. In some cases, your employer will have more information on vaccine availability, and it’s a good idea to be in touch with your health care provider, too. Vaccine supplies from the federal government are increasing, and today represents one more step toward the end of this crisis.


Minnesota Values Podcast

Minnesota Values Podcast

Last week, I was thrilled to appear on the Minnesota Values Podcast – hosted by fellow Duluth Representative Liz Olson and Representative Jamie Long from Minneapolis – to discuss my legislation to create a MinnesotaCare Public Option. The solution would build upon MinnesotaCare, a program created nearly three decades ago to give low-income Minnesotans an affordable health care option, by expanding it to allow more Minnesotans to take advantage of lower out-of-pocket costs and access to a strong network of providers.

This is truly one of the most important pieces of legislation I’ve had the opportunity to work on, and when enacted, will strengthen the way of life for many Minnesotans struggling with high health care costs. Please listen here, or wherever you find podcasts.


Boosting Wages for Personal Care Attendants

People with disabilities deserve to live with dignity and reach their full potential. Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) play a critical role in their lives, performing challenging, but vital work, providing a variety of services. Unfortunately, despite the demands of the job, their pay often falls far short of what they deserve. This leads to high turnover and numerous job vacancies putting clients at risk of not receiving the services they count on.

This is unacceptable, and we must develop a long-term solution to invest in the Minnesotans who perform these dedicated services. The Star Tribune recently highlighted our work to ensure PCAs can receive a living wage for their work and strengthen the way of life for people with disabilities.


Please continue to stay in touch with your viewpoints, ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance. Thank you for the honor to work as your public servant.

Sincerely,

Jen Schultz
State Representative

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