My colleagues and I have been busy since we were sworn in last Tuesday. I’ve spent the past week talking with Minnesotans, attending committee hearings and floor sessions, and working on new legislation.
Last week, I had the opportunity to get a socially-distanced photo with Speaker Hortman and my son Evan, a junior at South St. Paul Secondary, after I was sworn in remotely.
The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee, which I chair, held its first public hearing today. We discussed a bill I authored that invests $61 million from our state’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund in environmental projects across the state. These funds would help create jobs and protect our great outdoors for current Minnesotans and future generations. I’m pleased to report that the bill advanced on a 17-2 bipartisan vote! You can watch the hearing here.
Vaccine Distribution Update
Approximately 144,500 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 8,000 Dakota County residents. As you may have heard or seen in the news, the vaccine is being administered in phases. Health care workers and long term care residents will be the first to receive it, followed by essential workers, those 65 or older, and those with underlying health conditions. If you’d like to stay updated throughout the vaccine distribution process, our state’s new Vaccine Data Dashboard is a great resource.
Approximately $70 million from the lottery-generated Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund will be invested in projects across the state in 2022. Yesterday, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) - a bipartisan group that reviews these projects and makes recommendations to the Legislature - opened the proposal process. LCCMR welcomes proposals for initiatives that aim to protect, conserve, and enhance Minnesota’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. Proposals may be submitted through LCCMR’s online system until Friday, April 2nd.
According to the latest economic update from Minnesota Management and Budget, state general fund revenue for November and December was $167 million more than the amount predicted in the November budget forecast. Like the forecast, this news indicates that our state is well positioned to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and support those who need it.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-6828.