I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying a little sunshine in this spring thaw.
With the start of Derek Chauvin’s trial, I know this is a stressful time for Minneapolis and our region and one that renews the deep trauma for our community and particularly our Black neighbors. I'm holding George Floyd, Minneapolis, and our community in my heart.
My fellow Minneapolis legislative delegation colleagues and I have been in touch with local and state public safety authorities as they prepare for the trial to share thoughts and concerns we are hearing from residents and communities and will continue to do so throughout the trial. And we must continue our work at the Capitol to address the structural racism and deep inequities that harm our Black, brown, and Indigenous neighbors and hold our state back.
Democracy for the People Act Progresses
The Democracy for the People Act, a bill I authored to defend and strengthen our democracy, had its fifth hearing this week. Members of the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony from young Minnesotans who emphasized the importance of making voting accessible and reliable for college students, our state’s newest voters. My bill would help by ensuring colleges and universities provide a current residential housing list to county auditors before each election. That means students can use their student ID as proof of residency if they choose to register on election day. It’s a simple change that will provide certainty to students and relieve the administrative burden on counties and local election officials.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
On Tuesday, Gov. Walz announced that Minnesota is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of our seniors by the end of the week. Since we’re poised to reach this goal two weeks earlier than he anticipated, Gov. Walz also announced that the state would enter the next phase of the vaccination plan.
The state expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. As a result, 1.8 million Minnesotans are newly eligible, including:
While these groups will receive priority, providers may offer available appointments to others who are eligible, including Minnesotans from the next tier:
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. You can find more information about the administration’s plan to distribute vaccines at mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/whos-getting-vaccinated/vaccinated.jsp.
Addressing Disparities in Vaccination Rates
Black, brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and should be prioritized as the state distributes vaccines. This week, House DFLers introduced legislation to improve vaccine access and ensure that the distribution process is equitable. Under this bill, vehicles staffed by health care professionals and interpreters would travel to deliver vaccines to disproportionately impacted communities across the state. The state would launch outreach campaigns and partner with local care providers, pharmacies, and community health centers to develop programs that reduce vaccination rate disparities. I am a strong supporter of this bill, and I will keep supporting efforts to ensure that we are equitably distributing vaccines to those most impacted by this virus and to remove unnecessary barriers to vaccine access.
Reminder: COVID-19 Vaccine Roundtable
Come hear more about the vaccine from Minnesota experts by joining Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, Rep. Jim Davnie, and me at the COVID-19 Vaccine Roundtable we’re hosting on Facebook Live this Sunday, March 14 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. We’ve invited state and local public health officials to join us and share information about the state’s vaccine distribution process with our community.
In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can ever be of assistance. You can reach me via email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-4200.