You are invited to join Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn, Sen. Cwodzinski, and me next Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. for a virtual town hall. We are now in the third month of the 2021 Legislative Session and we would like to hear your comments on the work ahead. Go to any of our Facebook pages to participate.
Click here to submit a question in advance.
I am still taking your feedback on issues that may be discussed this legislative session. Your priorities are important to me. Please take a moment to click on this link and complete my legislative survey. [You may note this survey was created prior to the February forecast announcement and question #4 doesn’t reflect the current $1.6 billion projected positive balance].
Turning the Dials
Governor Walz has announced new public health guidance. These are welcome changes, but until more Minnesotans are vaccinated, it is important to continue to follow safety guidelines.
Virtual Community Engagement at the Capitol
As you know, we continue to operate remotely in the House to keep the public and each other safe but have adjusted so we can still meet with our dedicated workers who do so much for all of us. It was gratifying to hear how the work we do in the legislature matters and that it is possible to improve lives with good public policies and investments. These are some of the groups I met with this week:
Local AFSCME Council 5 members reported about the impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers and how women have been particularly hard hit economically this year.
On Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol, we discussed how best to support this fast-growing sector of the Minnesota economy.
During a session with constituents on Mental Health Day on the Hill, we heard personal stories about how proposed legislation could have important benefits to individuals and families.
The pandemic provided an opportunity to improve care through a greater use of telehealth, a bright spot in a challenging year. We discussed these changes during Pharmacy Day on the Hill.
This week, Governor Walz announced the expansion of COVID-19 vaccine access to those with a broad range of chronic and underlying conditions and key front-line workers. The state has almost reached its goal to vaccinate 70% of senior citizens.
You can be ready for the COVID-19 vaccine by signing up for the Vaccine Connector. When you become eligible to receive a vaccine under state guidelines, you will be alerted of your eligibility, connected to resources to schedule an appointment, and notified if there are vaccination opportunities in the area.
Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program
Alec Smith was a 26-year-old Minnesotan who, after aging off his parents’ insurance, could not afford the $1,300 monthly cost of insulin and died rationing his medication. The law in Alec’s memory provides an emergency safety net to individuals with an urgent need for insulin, as well as a long-term assistance program. If you or someone you know is having trouble accessing emergency insulin, go to this website for helpful information.
March is Women’s History Month and this week we celebrated International Women’s Day. I’m proud to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of women in the House DFL Caucus and in our community. I am grateful for women in my life today, and every day.
The latest episode of the Minnesota Values Podcast has been released and features three of my colleagues talking about HF 11, a bill to expand eligibility to MinnesotaCare. Hear an overview of the measure and the state effort to offer affordable health insurance to more Minnesotans.
Click here to listen.
Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Wear masks when in public. 10-50% of virus carriers are asymptomatic (are not experiencing any symptoms). Wearing masks helps control the virus and has been shown to lessen COVID-19 spread.
- Avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people, where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time.
- Get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Stay six feet away from others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth – with unwashed hands.
- Up-to-date guidance is available from the Department of Health.
Stay connected with the legislature
The Minnesota House will continue to operate remotely, as we did throughout most of 2020. The House will ensure openness and transparency for the public by expanding 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 here.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.