Rep. Tou Xiong, Sen. Susan Kent, and I are holding a town hall on Saturday, March 20 at 11:00 a.m. If you’d like to join us, the event will be livestreamed on my official Facebook page. You may submit questions ahead of time or during the event. We hope to see you there.
Minnesota has made progress in the fight against COVID-19. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all trending downward, and our vaccination process is improving as the vaccine supply increases. So far, 928,963 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 484,383 have completed the series. Last week, Governor Walz announced the next steps in this process.
Our state is on track to deliver vaccines to 70 percent of Minnesotans who are 65 years old or older by the end of March. Once we hit this benchmark, people with certain underlying health conditions and those who are at a high risk for workplace exposure will become eligible. Current projections indicate that every Minnesotan should be able to get a vaccine this summer. I know some of you have been frustrated, waiting in an electronic line, finding it difficult to get an appointment, or even having trouble getting a straight answer when you call with a question. The logistics of the effort have been difficult, but health officials are making progress.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I encourage you to check out Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a new tool to help people find out when, where, and how to get a vaccine. It can let you know when you’re eligible to be vaccinated, connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment, and alert you if there are vaccine opportunities nearby. To sign up, visit mn.gov/vaccineconnector or call 833-431-2053.
Giving Minnesotans Time to Care for Themselves and Others
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it is for Minnesotans to have access to earned sick and safe time. Far too many workers don’t have access to this critical benefit and therefore have to choose between taking care of themselves and losing a paycheck. This creates higher risks for the worker, their colleagues, and anyone who interacts with them during the day. That’s why I’m supporting a bill that gives hardworking Minnesotans time to recover if they get sick.
I’m also supporting a bill that expands access to paid family and medical leave, which would allow Minnesotans to take time off to bond with a newborn, take care of a family member, or get treatment for a serious illness. Under this legislation, all workers with qualifying family events and medical conditions could apply for up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year.
Expanding Access to Affordable Health Care
Our families, community, and economy are stronger when everyone has access to high-quality health care that they can afford to use. House DFLers have a plan to expand access to healthcare by opening up MinnesotaCare, a program that provides coverage for approximately 92,000 low-income Minnesotans. Our plan would allow Minnesotans beyond the current income guidelines to enroll in the program, paying premiums on a sliding, income-based scale. Those who opt-in could take advantage of lower out-of-pocket costs and MinnesotaCare’s strong network of providers. In short, the legislation would help more Minnesotans get the care that they need and I’m proud to support it.
If you have questions or comments about my work at the Legislature, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 651-296-1147. I always appreciate hearing from members of our community.