Linda and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Hannukah, or any additional holidays you may celebrate this time of year. Also, while 2020 has been challenging, I remain confident that 2021 will bring a respite from the virus. I wish all a less eventful and very happy New Year.
The vaccine has arrived in our area, with healthcare personnel that work directly with COVID-19 patients receiving the first round of vaccinations. Nursing home residents and the staff there are also in the first group that are being vaccinated.
A second vaccine has been approved and several additional vaccine manufacturers are in the final stages of testing their vaccine. Within the next 60 days, the increased amount of available vaccine should help speed up completing vaccinations of those most at risk. Then members of the general public that desire may be vaccinated.
We are about to turn the corner on getting this disease under control, however we must all continue to take appropriate precautions to protect each other from the spread of the virus.
During a recent conference call with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Bishop, the agency announced the Walz administration is moving forward with the rulemaking process to adopt the California Auto Emission Standards. Unfortunately, that will likely raise the price of vehicles for Minnesotans by up to $2,500 and complicate what types of new cars that may be sold and registered in Minnesota.
I made it clear Minnesota should not tie our environmental policy to the whims of California and that I will oppose this action. Rural Minnesotans have very limited access to any form of public transit. This move will most heavily impact those with low and fixed incomes in rural Minnesota that must drive to work every day.
Crow Wing and Aitkin Counties are working hard on their local grant program to aid businesses and non-profits that have been impacted by any of the governor’s COVID-19 emergency orders. For program details monitor our counties’ official websites. The Legislature continues preparing for the 2021 session which begins Jan. 5. The primary task we face this session is developing the next two-year state budget as we work out of the current pandemic.
Enjoy the holidays, and despite the stressful times please be kind and considerate of others.