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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - December 16, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Dear neighbors, 

On Monday, the Minnesota Legislature approved a new economic assistance package that will help small businesses and workers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support, includes direct assistance for businesses hit hardest by COVID-19 and helps protect economic security for workers with extended unemployment benefits. This critical assistance will help workers, families, and small businesses make ends meet until we receive more aid from the federal government.  

Hansen 12.16


Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan 

Governor Walz recently unveiled a COVID-19 vaccination plan that aims to quickly, equitably, and safely deliver a free vaccine to any Minnesotan who wants one. The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, which the FDA has authorized for emergency use, arrived in Minnesota on Monday.  

Health care workers and long-term care residents will be the first to receive the vaccine, followed by essential workers, seniors, and people with preexisting conditions who are more likely to become seriously ill if they contract the virus. The distribution process will take several months. In the meantime, it’s important to continue doing all we can to keep our communities safe, including wearing a mask, social distancing, staying home when possible, and getting tested if you feel sick.  


Modified Public Health Measures 

Governor Walz announced the next steps in our state’s fight against COVID-19 this afternoon. The goal is to get kids back in school and support Minnesotans’ quality of life while preserving hospital capacity, which is still a significant concern. Several existing restrictions have been modified. Some of the most significant changes are: 

  • Starting January 18, elementary schools across the state may choose to operate in-person as long as they’re able to implement additional safety measures.  
  • Indoor gatherings still aren’t recommended, but starting this Saturday, people can gather with one other household indoors and two other households outdoors. Masks and social distancing are highly encouraged for all social gatherings.  
  • Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen for individual exercise. Masks and physical distancing are required.  
  • Youth and adult sports can resume practices on January 4.  
  • Bars, restaurants, and breweries can reopen for outdoor dining, although indoor service will remain paused.  

You can find more information about these public health guidelines here


LCCMR Update  

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), which I chair, is meeting tomorrow, December 17 at 9 a.m. We’ll discuss plans for 2021 and hear updates on completed projects, including groundwater contamination mapping and a program that connects young people with Minnesota waterways through outdoor classrooms. You can find more information, including an agenda, here.  

One of the studies that LCCMR recommended for funding recently published their results. The study was dedicated to researching the impact of neonicotinoids – a group of widely-used insecticides – on surface and groundwater. Scientists from the University of Minnesota monitored 65 sites across the state to determine where neonicotinoids are concentrated and what impact they have on aquatic life. The results are available here


As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, ideas, or feedback. You can reach me by email at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-6828. 

Sincerely,  

Rick Hansen 
State Representative  

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