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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sandra Feist (DFL)

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Legislative Update: March 10, 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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Happy Women’s History Month!

I love serving Senate District 41, which is currently represented by all women legislators. I’d like to take this moment to give a shout out to my colleagues, Rep. Connie Bernardy and Sen. Mary Kunesh, who have been my mentors since I joined the Minnesota legislature. Their energy, expertise, and desire to serve the community are such an inspiration. This month, I am proud to recognize the women who have fought throughout history for gender equity. I also honor the advocates currently continuing that effort in the community and in the legislature where we are advancing bills around equal pay for women, child care access, the rights of transgender women and girls, and other protections against gender-based discrimination.

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Progress on Legislation

Last week was a whirlwind! I presented three bills in three days, including the Pensions Commission, the Education Finance committee, and Public Safety committee. I’m thrilled to see the three bills in question moving through the process during the narrowing window for passage into law this year. These three bills provide a view into my priorities and approach to lawmaking:

  • I presented a bill before the Pensions Commission that will bring our state pension statutes into compliance with federal immigration law. This bill highlights my concern for the rights of immigrants in Minnesota, as well as my desire to ensure that Minnesota’s laws are precisely, and thoughtfully crafted with the big picture implications in mind. 
  • I presented a bill before the Education Finance committee to dedicate funding for online suicide prevention training for school staff to address the significant need for greater funding and focus on children’s mental health needs in the school setting. As a mother, this bill resonates with me and I feel a strong desire to fund the school staff that are on the front lines of addressing our children’s mental wellbeing.
  • I presented a bill before the Public Safety committee that creates a statewide restorative model for veterans charged with low-level crimes that has been proven through existing Veterans Treatment Courts to reduce recidivism and protect the interests of victims. I am committed to expanding a restorative approach to criminal sentencing, which is not only more humane and more effective at protecting public safety - but it also is more cost effective. This bill is projected to save $1.2 Million.  

Town Hall Meeting: Mark Your Calendars!

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On March 30th at 7 P.M. Senator Mary Kunesh, Representative Connie Bernardy and I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting. You can RSVP to join on the Zoom call and submit your questions prior to the event on the following Google form, or simply watch the live-broadcast of the event on my Facebook page. You will receive the Zoom link the day before the event. 

We look forward to addressing the issues important to our district. 

RSVP HERE

Minnesota Vaccine Distribution Update

We just received great news: Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility on Wednesday, March 10 as the state reaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotans 65 years of age and older. At our current pace, Minnesota is now several weeks ahead of schedule. More than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week.

Now eligible

Phase 1b Tier 2 populations include: 

  • Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD & CHF)
  • Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
  • Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness

Phase 1b Tier 3 populations include:

  • Minnesotans age 45 years and older with one or more underlying medical conditions identified by the CDC
  • Minnesotans age 16 years and older with two or more underlying medical conditions
  • Minnesotans age 50 years and older in multi-generational housing
  • Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, and U.S. Postal Service workers

All Minnesotans who have not received a vaccine should sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. In some cases, health care providers or employers will have more information for patients or employees on vaccine availability. Minnesotans can also call the translation hotline at 833-431-2053 for assistance signing up over the phone.

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Staying in Touch

As always, I appreciate the correspondence from the community on areas of concern or questions that anyone may have. This week, emails have spanned many topics, from support for the craft brewery industry, to addressing climate change by transitioning to greater reliance on clean energy. I also had the opportunity to meet with disability rights and services advocates, elder rights advocates, and workers’ rights advocates this week to learn about their legislative priorities. As a result, I am better informed about the needs and most pressing issues of concern in our district. 

You can stay up to date on our work for the 2021 Legislative Session by subscribing to these legislative updates and “liking” my official Facebook page. For any questions you have on the resources available to our community or our work in the Minnesota House, you can reach me at rep.sandra.feist@house.mn or leave a voicemail at (651) 296-4331. I look forward to hearing from you.

In Solidarity, 

Sandra Feist

Minnesota State representative (House District 41B)

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