Sen. Scott Dibble, Rep. Frank Hornstein, and I are eager to hear your questions and feedback! We hope you can join us for a virtual town hall next Wednesday, March 10 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. To participate, please visit my official Facebook page when the event begins.
New Podcast: Capitol Climate Connections
Rep. Patty Acomb and I launched a brand-new podcast this week. We started Capitol Climate Connections to share updates from the Legislature and highlight the incredible work Minnesotans are doing to protect our planet for future generations. We’re excited to talk with people from every corner of the state about addressing the climate crisis! In our first episode, Rep. Acomb and I interviewed Bob Blake, the founder and CEO of a solar installation company. We had a great conversation about the Red Lake Nation’s efforts to transition to clean energy and the exciting future of solar energy. You can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever podcasts are available.
Addressing an Increase in Heating Bills
Two weeks ago, the demand for natural gas increased significantly due to extreme cold in the southern United States. The cost of natural gas skyrocketed nationwide and climbed even higher when unwinterized infrastructure in Texas and other states froze, reducing the supply. Minnesotans’ utility bills may increase significantly due to this extraordinary spike, exacerbating the difficulties many families and small businesses are already experiencing from the pandemic. Last week, the House Climate and Energy Committee – which I chair – and the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee held a joint hearing to discuss ways our state can help utilities manage this crisis and mitigate the impact on Minnesotans, particularly the most vulnerable. You can watch the entire hearing here.
Providing Minnesotans with a Fresh Start
One in three Americans has a criminal record of some kind; it shouldn’t be a lifelong barrier to employment, education, and housing. That’s why I introduced the Clean Slate Act, legislation that automatically expunges low-level offenses from the criminal records of Minnesotans who’ve served their time. It will provide thousands of Minnesotans with a fair shot at a better future and remove unnecessary barriers to opportunity. This bill was heard for the first time last week and is advancing with bipartisan support.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Minnesota has made progress in the fight against COVID-19. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all trending downward, and the vaccination process is improving as the supply our state receives from the federal government increases. So far, 975,781 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 516,422 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 the month. Once we hit this benchmark, people with certain underlying health conditions, rare conditions, and disabilities 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 encourage you to sign up for Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector, which will alert you when you become eligible for the vaccine.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. You can email me at email@example.com or give me a call at 651-296-5375.