I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those killed in the senseless shootings in Atlanta earlier this week. Across the country, we’ve witnessed an uptick in discrimination against Asian Americans and we all must reject hate and discrimination in all forms. Here’s an update from the Capitol.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning across the state. While students, educators, and families have shown great resiliency, student achievement has been deeply impacted over the past year. It’s critical to invest in our students to ensure they can have the opportunity to catch up from learning loss if they’ve fallen behind.
House DFLers have developed a Summer Learning Package that invests in 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 and delivers funding for school districts that have experienced declining enrollment.
Enacting this plan into law is also a key priority for Governor Walz. Caring about our students and their progress in school is a bipartisan issue and we’re committed to making these investments in our students’ future.
Developing a new two-year state budget gives us the opportunity to deliver a better future for every family, every small business, every student, and every Minnesotan. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t impacted everyone equally, and while corporations and the very wealthiest among us have continued to do well, students, working families, and small businesses have borne the brunt of the pandemic. Despite our challenges, Minnesota is a state of abundance and we have the capacity to make bold investments in our schools, affordable health care, and economic security for everyone.
Yesterday, Governor Walz announced his revised budget proposal, which followed the updated economic forecast showing a positive budget balance for the next two years (though inflation isn’t accounted for on the expenditure side of the ledger). As we continue the conversation about our state budget, I’ll work to ensure my fellow lawmakers recognize that all Minnesotans deserve to weather this pandemic and thrive beyond it.
Minnesota has surpassed 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed and with every shot, we come one step closer to ending this crisis. While it took more than two months for the state to administer the first million doses, it took less than one month to administer the second million doses. If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to be connected with vaccine opportunities when you are eligible. 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.
Earlier this week, with COVID-19 trends moving in the right direction, restrictions on businesses, gatherings, and activities were eased. Still, we aren’t out of the woods yet and we need to remain cautious against the spread of the virus. Please continue to wear a mask around others, practice physical distancing, stay home if you’re sick, and get a COVID-19 test if you feel you need one.
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.