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

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Legislative Update- January 14, 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022


Dear Neighbors,

It's been a busy virtual week at the Capitol as the Omicron Variant surges across our country and state. Below you can find some updates and announcements from the Capitol.

Nurses Needed

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-term staffing pressures across our health care infrastructure. In response to the severe staffing shortages facing long-term care facilities, 400 National Guard members are currently deployed throughout the state to provide emergency staffing. They are acting as a temporary, emergency solution to a structural workforce challenge facing our state. Their service is truly admirable. 

To begin addressing these critical staffing shortages, last week, the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission (LCRC) approved $3.4 million in funding for a critical investment in the health of our state: recruiting, training, and deploying at least 1,000 new certified nursing assistants (CNAs) by the end of January. Nursing assistants are the sixth most in demand job in Minnesota, providing frontline care to patients across the health care spectrum. This staffing initiative, led by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education in conjunction with Minnesota State, will offer resources and support to those pursuing a CNA credential from the first day of class to the first day on the job.

The program covers costs for tuition, fees, and materials, and transportation and technology needs for students. In addition, the $3.4 million in funding approved by the LCRC will provide up to 10 high schools with funds for lab equipment necessary to offer nursing assistant training classes on site. High schools will be determined via an application process that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

One thousand Minnesotans are needed to answer the call and join the next generation of health care workers. Tuition, books, uniform, and exam costs are all covered. 

Enroll Today


National Day of Racial Healing

Ramsey County is hosting a community meeting on Zoom next Tuesday, January 18 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. to discuss the racial equity work happening in our local jurisdictions and share resources for racial healing. There will be time for questions and answers as well as guided body practices. The evening event is intended to bring people together and strengthen relationships with our community members. You can RSVP here.

The National Day of Racial Healing centers around experiences rooted in truth-telling, offering people, organizations and communities a day set aside for racial healing, bringing people together to take collective action for a more just and equitable world. It was started by the Kellogg Foundation in 2017 to bring people together for conversations about how we heal from the effects of racism. This day is observed every year on the Tuesday after MLK day.


Congrats, Sam Hentges!

Congratulations to our very own Sam Hentges of New Brighton and the other talented Minnesotans who were named to the 2022 Men’s and Women’s Olympic Team! The U of M Twin Cities, Minnesota State University, Mankato, St. Cloud State University, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth are all represented. Read more here about Sam Hentges who is currently attending St. Cloud State University. 


Climate Action Caucus

The Climate Action Caucus (CAC) met this week to plan for session priorities ahead of when the legislature gavels in on January 31.

The Climate Action Caucus heard testimony from experts Severin Borenstein, Joe Dammel, Annie Levinson-Falk, and Bill Grant on rising energy prices in Minnesota. This meeting further solidified how much more expensive it is for us to stall action on climate-ready solutions. As one of the fastest warming states in the country, I’ll continue to advocate for green and clean energy policies that help protect air and water quality, and slow the effects of climate change in Minnesota.



COVID-19 Update

Thursday, Governor Tim Walz announced his intention to provide $40 million in new funding to continue to expand COVID-19 testing resources in Minnesota.

The $40 million will go directly to purchasing COVID-19 rapid tests and getting them in the hands of Minnesotans across the state as quickly as possible. Minnesota is actively negotiating with testing manufacturers to increase their supply of rapid testing in the weeks and months ahead. Governor Walz submitted his plan for the funding from the American Rescue Plan to the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission on Wednesday.

Last week, Governor Walz took a series of actions to expand testing capacity through various channels, including:

  • New locations, higher capacity, and expanded hours in the state’s Community Testing network;
  • 1.8 million rapid tests for school districts to use during the spring semester and;
  • 150,000 rapid tests to be distributed to vulnerable communities through community partners.

How families can find a shot for their child:

How Minnesotans can get their free shot:


New Brighton Ice Castles are Open


Plan your visit to our majestic ice castles in New Brighton today! More information is available here


Keep in Touch

I wish you and your family a safe weekend. Please contact me anytime at or 651-296-5510. I welcome your questions and comments anytime.

Thank you for the honor of representing you in the Minnesota House of Representatives!


Connie Bernardy
State Representative