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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL)

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Legislative Update – March 10, 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Monday was International Women’s Day and I was honored to join community members for a gathering at Smokey Bear Park in International Falls and provide some brief remarks. We celebrated women’s accomplishments, while also recognizing how much work is still before us to eliminate inequities and create even more opportunities for women to succeed.

International Women's Day

Koochiching County Community TV covered the event here.

Virtual Town Hall Announced

Ecklund Virtual Town Hall

On Tuesday night, March 30, you’re invited to join me on Facebook Live for a Virtual Town Hall Meeting. It’s important for me to connect with the people I have the honor to represent, and while I hope we can have in-person events soon, right now a virtual setting is the best way to get maximum participation from across the region. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on my Facebook Page.

I look forward to giving an update on the legislative session and answering questions about important issues under consideration in Saint Paul. To submit a question ahead of time, please enter it here.

It will be a nonpartisan gathering, and all constituents across the district are invited. If you can’t join us live, we will have video available for playback following the event. Also, you’re invited to reach out to me any time directly via email at or phone at 651-296-2190.

Legislative Survey

Another way to share your input with me is to take my 2021 Legislative Survey. It’s just a few questions covering some of the issues likely to be addressed this session. It’s available online here.

Vaccine Update

Now eligible

Yesterday, Governor Walz announced Minnesota has reached the milestone of 70 percent of Minnesota seniors receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, a full three weeks before our state’s goal. This means the vaccine will be available to several more eligibility categories starting today.

In total, about 1.8 million folks will be eligible to get their shots including:

  • 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

Minnesotans in the next tier group will also be eligible, 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

As supplies increase from the federal government, the speed at which Minnesotans can get vaccinated will also increase. I’m hopeful that with positive steps like these, we’re coming closer to putting COVID-19 behind us. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the Vaccine Connector to get notified when it’s your turn and be connected with vaccination opportunities.

Chronic Wasting Disease

To ensure our state’s cherished hunting traditions can continue, we need to protect Minnesota’s deer population. In several areas of the state, wild white-tail deer face the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and many positive cases have been directly connected to farmed Cervidae.

Yesterday, the House Environment Committee approved HF 1727, my bill to enact some reforms to limit and control interactions between farmed and wild deer. The legislation includes new requirements for deer farms including double fencing, registration, reporting, surveillance, and movement restrictions. If a CWD positive case is found on a deer farm, it prohibits the operation from raising farmed Cervidae on the premises for at least ten years. The bill transfers oversight of deer farms from the Board of Animal Health to the Department of Natural Resources. Finally, the bill invests $250,000 in the DNR’s “Adopt-A-Dumpster” program.

The bill will next be considered in the Agriculture Committee. I’ll be sure to keep folks posted about progress on this important issue.

Please continue to contact me with your feedback and ideas, or if I can ever be of assistance. It’s an honor to represent you.


Rob Ecklund
State Representative