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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL)

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Legislative Update- April 23, 2021

Friday, April 23, 2021
 

 

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Dear Neighbors,

After a heart wrenching week for our state, one step toward justice was made with the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. One verdict will not bring back George Floyd or end the trauma and pain Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience day in and day out. While today’s conviction of Derek Chauvin provides accountability and hope, our work to create a more inclusive and just Minnesota is far from over.

We must build a Minnesota where we all want to live. A Minnesota that is vibrant, healthy, and allows every community member to prosper and thrive in a safe and secure environment.  All Minnesotans ought to know they and their loved ones will return home safely at the end of each day. Tragically though, for too many Minnesotans - especially people who are Black or Brown, this is not the case. 

We need community members and law enforcement to partner with the legislature as we make transforming changes. Our strength comes from our ability to work together, look out for our neighbors, and help one another. Together, we must make community and justice for everyone - no exceptions.

Earlier this week, I was proud to support the bipartisan House Public Safety, Criminal Justice Reform, Judiciary, and Civil Law budget. In this bill, we continue the important reforms we enacted last you to ensure our state’s public safety framework has human rights and human dignity at the forefront. The bill also includes the funding necessary to ensure these overdue reforms can come to fruition. Here is a list of the reforms and accountability measures the bill includes.

 

Accountability

 


The House DFL Budget

In addition to the Public Safety, Judiciary, and Civil Law Budget we passed Wednesday evening, we’ve spent the past week debating components of our complete budget proposal on the House floor, with the next step being negotiations with the Senate. So far, we’ve passed budgets for the following areas:

Budget


As the chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee, I’ve had the honor to craft this legislation with my DFL and GOP colleagues serving on the committee. The bill earned bipartisan support on the floor Monday and includes important initiatives that center on students, pandemic recovery, and equity. Here are a few highlights of the bill I’m proud to share:

  • Tuition freeze at MNState institutions 
  • Expansion to State Grant eligibility, positively impacting over 75,000 students 
  • Financial support for people of color and American Indians studying to become teachers, which is an important tool in helping to close the opportunity gap in Minnesota.

You can read more details about the bill by clicking the Higher Education link above.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Available

Thousands of appointments to receive a COVID-19 Vaccine are available at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. You can schedule an appointment by signing up for the state’s Vaccine Connector or by calling 1-833-431-2053, and support is available for multiple languages (translators are also available on-site). The location has an ADA accessible drive-through option, and free Metro Transit passes are available for everyone who registers.

As of this week, 54% of Minnesotans age 16 or older have received at least one dose. Having as many people vaccinated as possible is the most immediate, significant action we can take to move past this pandemic. 

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Rent Assistance

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency has launched RentHelpMN, a portal for low- and moderate-income renters to get assistance to catch up on overdue rent and utilities. While Minnesotans were displaced from their jobs, the eviction moratorium was an important step to ensure housing security and prevent homelessness. Minnesota has received about $375 million for emergency rental assistance.

Renters can apply directly or learn more about the application process by visiting renthelpmn.org. Download the Renter checklist to see if you’re eligible and find out what documents you’ll need in order to be ready to apply. There are also resources available for landlords. I encourage you to take advantage of this assistance if you’re eligible.

Rental Assistance


Keep in Touch

Please contact me anytime at rep.connie.bernardy@house.mn or 651-296-5510 on any state issue important to you or I may be of help. 

It’s an honor to serve the communities in which I grew up - New Brighton, Fridley, and Spring Lake Park. 

Have a nice weekend.

Sincerely,

Connie Bernardy

State Representative 

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