As session progresses I would appreciate hearing from your thoughts on the most pressing issues we are working on at the Capitol. Complete the following survey to help me understand where I should focus my efforts for the rest of session: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021mn40b.
Last week, the state of Minnesota launched a new tool to help let Minnesotans know when they are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. We have all been eager to receive a vaccine as soon as possible, and luckily there are reasons to be optimistic that distribution will greatly accelerate soon. In the meantime, the new Vaccine Connector will alert Minnesotans when they are eligible, connect you to resources to schedule an appointment, and notify you about vaccine opportunities near you. Learn more and sign up here. Assistance is also available over the phone at 833-431-2053.
Energy Assistance Program
As Minnesotans continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 and the quarantine, the Minnesota Department of Commerce wants them to know that there is still assistance available to income eligible households (both owners and renters) for home heating bills and furnace repairs. The Energy Assistance Program can help by providing financial assistance:
The application period is open until May 31, 2021. You can find more information and links to apply at the Minnesota Department of Commerce website. Informational flyers are available in English, Español, Soomaali, and Hmoob.
MNsure To Open Three-Month Special Enrollment Period
MNsure, Minnesota's Health Insurance Marketplace, will be open for a special enrollment period lasting from February 16 to May 17, 2021. Any Minnesotan not currently enrolled in a plan through MNsure will be able to enroll in coverage. This upcoming special enrollment period is another opportunity for uninsured Minnesotans, or those currently enrolled outside of MNsure, to sign up for comprehensive health care coverage. See the announcement for more information.
License Renewal Deadlines
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) is urging driver’s license and ID cardholders to plan now as COVID-19 extensions come to an end. Legislation signed into law by Gov. Walz last year allowed DPS-DVS to extend the expiration dates of cards that would have expired between March 13, 2020 and Feb 28, 2021, to March 31, 2021. Minnesotans with cards that would have expired within that period must renew by March 31, 2021. DPS-DVS is sending letters to this group, serving as second renewal notices. Minnesotans with cards expiring March 1 or later must renew by the expiration date on their card. Renewal options and more information is outlined in this recent news release. Translated versions of the letter DVS is sending to affected Minnesotans are online at dps.mn.gov/mrc.
COVID-19 Helpline for Refugees and ImmigrantsThe Department of Human Services (DHS) Resettlement Programs Office has a helpline that will assist refugees and immigrants with any concerns they have related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Refugees and immigrants can call the helpline at 651-318-0989 from 9am to 5pm for information on COVID-19 testing locations, food support, health care and mental health resources, housing and rental assistance, COVID-19 case investigation, and contact tracing.
The helpline has staff that can speak Amharic, Anuak, Arabic, French, Hindi, Karen, Lingala, Luganda, Mashi, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, and Swahili. Language line help is available for any other language. Those who call the hotline can also get information about the services offered through Minnesota’s Resettlement Network, which helps refugees and other humanitarian immigrants with schooling, employment and citizenship. Learn more about the Resettlement Network on the department’s refugee programs webpage.
Middle and High Students Back to the Classroom
Governor Walz announced a plan to have all middle and high schools offer in-person learning by March 8. The direct engagement students have with their teachers and peers is critical toward both their academic achievement and their development into young adults. This plan is possible thanks to the precautions we have all taken to slow the spread, and progress we’ve made to get folks vaccinated.
Having students back in the classroom is only one step toward rebounding from the pandemic. We must also work together to address learning loss over the past year, invest in critical wrap-around supports, and deliver necessary funding for school districts.
Stay in Touch
Please reach out to my office if you need assistance with anything. I am best reached through email at email@example.com or please contact my legislative assistant Josh, firstname.lastname@example.org. I always appreciate hearing from you. You can also follow along on my official Facebook page here.
Rep. Samantha Vang