It’s been a busy week at the Minnesota Legislature! On Monday, my colleagues and I unanimously passed legislation to protect Minnesotans from a chemical solvent called perchloroethylene or “PERC.” PERC, which the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a “likely human carcinogen,” is widely used in dry cleaning facilities. Workers, people who wear dry-cleaned clothing, and those who live or work near facilities that use this chemical may be exposed to it. The bill we passed prohibits using PERC for dry cleaning and helps dry cleaners across the state transition to safer alternatives.
Helping Children Learn How to Swim
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, outdoor recreation is part of our culture. Unfortunately, spending time around water can be dangerous for Minnesotans, especially children who haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to swim. In the U.S., drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 14, and racial disparities exist in both swimming ability and drowning rates. That’s why I introduced legislation to help at-risk children learn to swim and be safe around water. My bipartisan bill invests $500,000 from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to fund scholarships for swimming lessons, so that more children in our state can safely enjoy the many outdoor recreation opportunities that our state has to offer.
Protecting Minnesotans’ Economic Security
I’m also championing a bill that would exempt COVID-19 stimulus payments from garnishment for debts for personal, family, or household purposes, allowing Minnesotans to use the assistance for its intended purpose. This is an important step we can take to help people weather the pandemic. My bill received bipartisan support at its first public hearing and is now on its way to the House floor.
More than 55.9 percent of Minnesotans who are 65 years old or older have received a COVID-19 vaccine. When 70 percent of our state’s seniors are vaccinated, people with certain underlying health conditions and those at risk for workplace exposure will become eligible for a vaccine. The list of eligible conditions was recently expanded to include individuals with Type 1 diabetes. In addition, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorized and arrived in Minnesota earlier this week. Since it only requires one dose, this vaccine will help health officials provide protection to more Minnesotans.
Current projections indicate that every Minnesotan should be able to get a vaccine this summer. You can find more details about the distribution plan here. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the state’s Vaccine Connector, which can let you know when you’re eligible to be vaccinated. You can sign up online at mn.gov/vaccineconnector or call 833-431-2053.
Recognizing Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history. While honoring those who came before us reminds me how far we’ve come, it also underlines how far we have yet to go. We must work together to achieve true gender equality in our community, state, and nation and ensure that all women have the opportunity to thrive.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or if I can be of assistance. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-3018.