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

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Legislative Update- August 30, 2021

Monday, August 30, 2021


Dear Neighbors,

It’s hard to believe it’s already back to school season in Minnesota. I wish everyone- our students, teachers, parents, and school staff-a great year ahead. Minnesotans have experienced unimaginable challenges in education over the past year and a half, which is why my House DFL colleagues and I worked hard to secure the largest investment in public schools in 15 years. All our students deserve a quality education and the resources they need to catch up and thrive, especially after the struggles they encountered last year.

I am particularly glad we made continued investments in early childhood education by passing my legislation to preserve over 4,000 voluntary PreK slots in our community and across the state. You can learn about more the specific investments we made in our students and families here.


Tax Benefits on School Supplies

As your family prepares for the upcoming academic year, many school supply purchases qualify for K-12 tax benefits to your 2021 Minnesota tax return. Save receipts from these purchases, including distance learning needs, and claim the K-12 Education Credit or Subtraction. You can learn more about these tax returns here. Here are some expenses that qualify for refunds:

  • Paper and notebooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Rental or purchases of educational equipment, including musical instruments
  • Computer hardware (including hotspots, modems, and routers) and educational software (up to $200 for the subtraction and $200 for the credit)
  • After-school tutoring and educational summer camps taught by a qualified instructor


Masks in Schools

Currently, there is no universal face covering requirement for students in Minnesota public schools. However, in addition to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians have also all encouraged and endorsed this policy.



Following the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds in early May, students in these age groups are encouraged to be vaccinated. Vaccines have been proven to be effective, are safe, and the best way we can protect each other; especially children under the age of 12 and those with compromised immune systems as the Delta variant spreads. Please feel free to be in touch with your medical provider with questions about efficacy, safety, and any concerns you have about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Find a nearby location to get your shot here.


Congratulations, Regent Bo Thao-Urabe!

Governor Walz recently appointed Bo Thao-Urabe, Executive Director and co-founder of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders, as a University of Minnesota Regent. Her appointment will allow her to fulfill the 6-year term of former Regent Kao Ly Ilean Her, who passed away unexpectedly in May. Ms. Her left big shoes to fill. I’m confident Bo Thao-Urabe will be an important addition to the Board of Regents with her skills and expertise. As the House Higher Education Chair, I especially look forward to working with her in the coming years. Welcome and congratulations Regent Thao-Urabe!


Keep in Touch

Again, my best wishes for a wonderful school year! Please contact me anytime with questions, input, or to let me know how I can be of assistance at or 651-296-5510.

Thank you for the honor of serving the communities in which I grew up at the Minnesota House of Representatives.


Connie Bernardy

State Representative