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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL)

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Stop AAPI Hate

Monday, March 22, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), immigrants, and international citizens. Over the past month in particular, there has been a rise of anti-AAPI violence, and these violent acts have culminated in the horrific murders in Atlanta which included six AAPI women. We must all stand up and confront hate when we see it. I stand with our AAPI communities and will work to ensure that they feel safe wherever they are. Please watch my colleague Rep. Tou Xiong’s speech on this tragedy, and the Minnesota Asian Pacific Caucuses statement. Dehumanization of all forms is wrong, unethical, and inhumane, and we have an obligation as a nation to change what has abhortantly become normalized. The hurt resonating throughout our communities runs deep, and I stand in solidarity with those most directly targeted by hate. 

Bills Progressing

You can view the bills I have authored here. Here are a few highlights: 

  • HF 944 is seeking to stop approximately 700 Medicaid-eligible and under-insured children from having to go through the child protection system simply to receive services at residential treatment facilities. These are families who are not a danger to their children, but rather are seeking help for their children. Unfortunately, this child protection door is presently the only way for these families to receive funding for the services their children need. It is slated to possibly be included in the Human Services Finance & Policy omnibus bill. Watch my presentation of this bill here
  • HF 1102 will soon be heard on the House floor. It seeks to freeze Home and Community based waivers for up to 121 days when a recipient is hospitalized or under in-patient treatment. They currently expire after 30 days, and this negatively impacts their ability to leave care with the same services they entered with. It also negatively impacts bed availability and practitioner availability. 
  • HF 1437 would make applying for MFIP benefits more accessible, and you can watch my presentation of that bill here. It is slated to possibly be included in the Human Services Finance & Policy omnibus bill.
  • HF 1686 is Travis’ Law in honor of Travis Jordan. This bill changes just three words of statute as follows: “The 911 system shall include a referral to mental health crisis teams, when appropriate.” Having a mental illness is a medical condition, and it is imperative that our statutes empower 911 operators to make referrals to our county Mental Health Crisis Intervention Teams when it is appropriate to do so. These teams are staffed with mental health professionals with extensive training in managing the needs of people with mental illness in a crisis. Though more extensive work is needed to continue to connect these teams with existing emergency response systems, this bill is a step toward a world where having a mental illness emergency is not treated as a crime for police to handle alone.

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This week Rep. Kaela Berg and I introduced our #SafeStay bill to require carbon monoxide detectors in hotel rooms.

#SafeStay Bill

In the midst of a housing crisis, it is more important than ever that hotels expand their commitment to safe stays by ensuring every room intended for sleeping is monitored for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be lethal and/or leave permanent damage on the brain and body. After a Minnesota family nearly died from CO poisoning in a Michigan hotel, they realized that MN does not require CO detectors in hotel rooms. Their advocacy is bringing forth an important, national conversation, and I am honored to have the opportunity to carry this bill with Rep. Berg. As a flight attendant who relies on hotels for her housing when she is working, she knows all too well the dangers that unmonitored CO levels pose to workers. This bill will save lives, and we are looking forward to its first hearing on March 23rd in the Labor, Industry, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

Virtual Town Hall

It was a great meeting with many of you to discuss some of the most pressing issues for our community. If you weren’t able to attend, there is a video of our meeting here, and we’ll be sure to host more in the future!

COVID-19 Update

Minnesota continues to make significant progress in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2 million Minnesotans have been vaccinated at least once, which includes 77% of seniors. Last week, Governor Walz announced more Minnesotans are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine following the arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose version. We still have more demand than supply, but we’re continuing to speed up the distribution of the vaccine. If you haven’t yet, sign up for the state’s Vaccine Connector to get connected with opportunities once you’re eligible.

Recently, the governor announced that restrictions on some businesses, activities, and gatherings would be eased in light of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths trending downward.  Many in our community are still vulnerable though, and we can’t lose sight of that. While we look forward to a summer that resembles normal, right now we need to continue taking the steps necessary to protect one another like social distancing, wearing a mask around others, and getting tested if we need to. 

I’ve been asked what it will take for me to vote to end the Governor’s emergency powers. I will vote to end the emergency powers when our leading experts tell us it is safe to do so. I am grateful for a leader like Gov. Walz during this time, and his team of experts have guided us to where we are today and have saved lives. We all want to be done with the virus, but the virus is not done with us. I am committed to doing my part to be part of the solution, not part of the misleading rhetoric.

New Business & Gathering Guidelines

Stay in Touch

Please feel free to reach out to me by email at rep.jessica.hanson@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4212. If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants to receive updates about the Legislature, let them know they can subscribe to my email list here. You can also follow my Facebook page here. It’s an honor to represent our community. Please stay in touch and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Rep. Jess Hanson, District 56A
421 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155

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