If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. 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. Vaccine supplies from the federal government are increasing, and this progress represents one more step towards the end of the pandemic.
At this rate, President Biden has announced that all adults in the US should be able to receive the vaccine this May.
Minnesotans who are now eligible to receive a vaccine include the following:
- 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.
New Bills for Committee Deadlines
This was a busy week for members with committee deadlines approaching, meaning legislation needed an official hearing in order to receive further consideration as we begin the process of putting together our state budget. Here’s an overview of some important bills I’m working on:
- HF 1151, the African American Family Preservation Act. This bill made it through the Judiciary and Human Services committees. I am glad to support the work of Village Arms, headed by Kelis Houston. We had great testifiers at both committee hearings and wonderful support from the community. To find out more about the bill and how you can help support it, join the Village Arms in their upcoming phone bank. We’re working hard to ensure that African American families stay together.
- HF 1060, this bill has made it through the Housing and Judiciary committees. The purpose of the bill is to address the eviction process. It provides time for tenants and landlords to come to a resolution out of court. If not, tenants have the ability to find resources to prepare for trial. There updates to the appeal process to allow tenants to stay in their home during certain types of cases. Finally, the bill would make eviction records private until a judge has adjudicated an actual eviction.
- HF 2113, I’m a co-author on this bill that would advance equitable distribution of the vaccine to our Black and Brown communities. We’re all eager for the vaccine, but based on the data that MDH has recently released, access to the vaccine for all Minnesotans continues to be an issue. This bill will help the state bridge that disparity gap so that we can all come out of this pandemic together.
Blue Line Extension
Hennepin County and the Met Council recently announced updates to the Blue Line Extension and Light Rail project. This important step of showcasing potential lines where the light rail might run is helpful, especially as we plan Minnesota’s transportation future. If you’re interested in getting involved and ensuring your voice is heard as the project develops, share this information, and write in or attend upcoming hearings to express your comments and concerns.
You can read more information on this project in the handout we received here.
New Public Health Guidelines
With this vaccine news also comes loosened restrictions for businesses and gatherings in our state. It’s still incredibly important for us to stick to the tried and true public health guidelines that have kept us healthy - such as social distancing and wearing a mask. Today, Governor Walz announced new measures that allow us to safely turn the dials in this pandemic.
These updates will go into effect on Monday at noon, and you can read more about them here.
If you have any questions or comments on our work in the Minnesota House, feel free to contact my office. You can reach me at either (651) 296-8659 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also “like” and follow my official Facebook page or subscribe to these updates to stay connected. I look forward to hearing from you!