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

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Legislative Update: SURVEY, Town Hall, and Reduced Restrictions

Thursday, March 18, 2021

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Dear Neighbors,

It’s survey time! I want to hear from you about your priorities and perspectives as the legislative session heads into the next phase. It’s an honor to serve our community at the State Capitol, and very important to me that I hear from as many voices as possible so that I can best address priorities and concerns in my role as your Representative. 

I look forward to your input on the areas that I have prioritized this session to ensure that the State of Minnesota supports all residents as we recover and rebuild from COVID. I am focused on policies that will expand access to affordable health care, provide all kids with a quality education, expand protections for workers, and create targeted job training and workforce development to ensure economic security and opportunity for all. I will also continue to champion legislation that addresses climate change to preserve and protect our natural resources.

If you’d like, please complete this survey! Feel free to get in touch with me anytime. I appreciate hearing from you!

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Progress on Legislation

Veterans Restorative Justice Act - This week, my bill to provide Veterans an alternative to incarceration, advanced through the Public Safety Committee, and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee. This bill creates an important model policy and statewide continuity in how we work with Veterans who have committed low-level criminal offenses for reasons related to their service to our country. 

School compensatory aid bill - This bill modifies how we calculate, spend, and target funds directed at students in the greatest need of additional academic support, based on levels of free and reduced lunch. The bill is currently referred to the Education Finance Committee for its first hearing. You can read and monitor the bill this session here

FAFSA requirement bill - I am extremely excited to author this bill to help more college-bound students access financial aid. It would require high school seniors to complete their FAFSA application in order to graduate. In our state, only 50% of those who qualify for free and reduced lunch end up enrolling at a college or university post-graduation. Minnesota is behind on matching our students with these federal benefits. Over $30 million in grants went unused in the most recent annual data.

This bill also includes a “no questions asked” opt out, or hardship waiver, to be granted to students by each school with parent/guardian signature, to allow for more unique circumstances. Now is especially a good time to move forward with this legislation given the new FAFSA simplification passed by Congress last fall to reduce the number of questions on the application. 

Let’s make sure Minnesota not only catches up with other states, but leads in providing opportunity and encouragement through policy to all students. 

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 the Senate District 41 page. You will receive the Zoom link the day before the event. 

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

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act

Since taking effect last July, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has reported that 465 Minnesotans have obtained access to life-saving insulin thanks to the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act.

This is one small, but significant step forward in our efforts to make life saving medication affordable to anyone who needs it. It’s also a tangible example of what we can do for people when we work together on bipartisan solutions for Minnesotans.

If you or anyone you know might need an urgent need of a 30-day supply of affordable insulin, please visit MNinsulin.org where you can see if you qualify, download the application, and learn how to apply today.

Affordable Insuling

Reduced COVID-19 Restrictions in MN 

Beginning March 15, Minnesotans can safely gather with more friends and loved ones and do more to support small businesses harmed the most by COVID-19. Governor Walz and public health officials say restrictions can be eased because Minnesotans are following public health guidelines, hospitalizations are falling, and the state is weeks ahead of schedule on vaccinations. Nearly 1.2 million Minnesotans and more than 70 percent of seniors have gotten a shot. Click here to watch Gov. Walz’s news conference announcing the changes, or click here to read coverage from the Star Tribune.

New Business & Gathering Guidelines

Emergency Rent Assistance Deadline: March 19

Households with unpaid rent and low incomes may qualify for help paying for rent and utility bills. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 19 at noon.

Learn more and apply now

Rent is still due during the State of Minnesota’s evictions moratorium. You can’t be evicted for not paying rent under Governor Walz’s executive order, but this order may be lifted soon and you will be at risk of eviction if you have unpaid rent. Don’t wait to apply for help.

The is an initial short-term program to get urgent help to households with high need. More help will be offered to even more households through a statewide COVID-19 Emergency Rent Assistance program opening later this month.

Staying in Touch

As always, I appreciate the correspondence from the community on areas of concern or questions that anyone may have. I also love meeting via Zoom with constituents to hear about what’s on your mind. In recent weeks, I’ve met with residents of our district who are housing advocates, Girl Scouts members, soil and water conservation experts, disability rights advocates, workers’ rights advocates, and many more. All of these conversations were enriching and enjoyable. These meetings leave me energized and inspired to represent this 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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