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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Sandell (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 19, 2021

Friday, March 19, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

This is a friendly reminder that Representative Tou Xiong, Senator Susan Kent, and I are holding a virtual town hall tomorrow morning. We hope you can join us on my official Facebook page at 11 a.m. You can share questions or feedback ahead of time or during the event.  

Town Hall Graphic


Addressing the Shootings in Atlanta 

Eight people, several of whom were of Asian descent, were shot and killed in Atlanta on Tuesday. My colleague Representative Tou Xiong gave a powerful speech in response to this senseless act of gun violence. I encourage you to watch it here. Each sentence he spoke expressed feelings of grief and loss and an appeal to humanity that we all might share. As discrimination against Asian Americans escalates across the nation, we must condemn hatred and violence in all forms.  


Support for Minnesota Students  

While Minnesota students, educators, and families have shown admirable resilience over the past year, it's clear students will need extra support as we move forward. House DFLers have developed a summer learning package to help meet students’ academic and emotional needs. Our extensive plan expands school- and community-based learning opportunities, invests in field trips and hands-on learning, funds mental health services, and provides summer programs for preschoolers, high schoolers, and adults. These investments will help students catch up if they’ve fallen behind and ensure that they have the tools to succeed inside and outside the classroom.  


Vaccine Eligibility Expanded 

Thanks to the efforts of many Minnesotans and the arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s new single-dose vaccine, more than 70 percent of seniors have received a COVID-19 vaccine. We hit this milestone last week, much earlier than anticipated. In response, Governor Walz expanded eligibility for the vaccine to 1.8 million people. The following Minnesotans are now eligible to get vaccinated:    

  • People with certain underlying conditions, including sickle cell disease, down syndrome, and oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant     
  • People with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk    
  • Food processing plant workers     

These groups will receive priority, but providers may offer available appointments to others who are eligible, including Minnesotans from the next tier:    

  • People 45 or older with one or more of the underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC    
  • People 16 or older with two or more of the underlying conditions     
  • People 50 or older in multi-generational housing    
  • Essential frontline workers, including airport staff, child care workers who weren’t previously eligible, first responders, judicial system workers, public health workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, and those who work in agriculture; correctional settings; food production, retail, or service; manufacturing; and public transit    

More details about eligibility are available here. I encourage you to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector if you haven’t already. In some cases, your employer will have more information on vaccine availability, and it’s a good idea to be in touch with your health care provider too. I know many people have found this process confusing and frustrating at times, but we have reason to be optimistic. While it took more than two months for the state to distribute the first million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the second million were administered in less than a month. With each dose, we are one step closer to ending this pandemic. 


COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxed  

Several of Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions were modified or rolled back on Monday. The graphic below outlines these changes and a few modifications that will take effect next month. You can find more details at staysafe.mn.gov.  

New Business & Gathering Guidelines

Governor Walz is expected to further ease restrictions as summer nears and more Minnesotans get vaccinated. In the meantime, it’s important that we continue wearing masks, social distancing, and getting tested to protect the progress we’ve made.  


It's an honor to represent our community. Please continue sharing your questions, ideas, and feedback as we approach the midway point of the legislative session.  

Sincerely,  

Steve Sandell  
State Representative  

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