We are now wrapping up the first full week of a very unusual legislative session – one occurring at a time of multiple national crises. On Saturday morning, the legislators who represent our part of St. Paul will be hosting a town hall for constituents to check in and ask questions. Details below.
In the meantime, the business of the Legislature is continuing. Committees have started their regular weekly meetings; you can view the full House schedule at https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/Schedules/Week. A reminder that legislative committee meetings are open to the public and viewable at the House website.
An Attack on Our Democracy
My most recent legislative update came out last Wednesday afternoon, just as the U.S. Capitol was overrun by hostile attackers for the first time since the War of 1812. Since then, chilling details have emerged, indicating that the takeover of the Capitol was planned and organized in advance, with a goal of seeking out and harming those leading our country.
This attempt to undermine our democracy and the will of voters was fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by President Trump and his allies. They bear responsibility for the violence and chaos we witnessed last week and must be held accountable. A number of my colleagues and I signed a letter urging Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, finding that President Trump is unfit to serve and removing him from office.
At the same time as the U.S. Capitol was being invaded, a large group gathered outside our own State Capitol. At that event, speakers echoed the violent rhetoric that incited the attack in Washington, D.C and called for civil war and casualties. A number of my Republican colleagues were present at the event. House DFL leaders have called on these members to renounce the threatening and inflammatory language used at the rally they attended and the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol.
Town Hall – This Saturday
Again, this is a critical time in our state and country. On Saturday morning, Rep. Kaohly Her, Sen. Erin Murphy, and I will hold a town hall for constituents to discuss the new legislative session and the many other issues on the minds of our constituents. Please join us at 10:00am on Saturday, January 16. Please pre-register here in order to participate. After registering, you’ll receive an email with a Zoom link for the event.
2021 Session Priorities
This morning, I joined House DFL leaders and legislators to announce our first priorities for the 2021 legislative session. We introduced legislation to protect the health, safety, and economic security of Minnesotans during the pandemic and ensure that they can thrive after it ends. One is a bill I authored that provides grants to child care providers and eliminates the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) waiting list. Other priority bills would provide assistance to those who need it, strengthen worker protections, improve long-term care and services for those without shelter, and support students.
Updated Public Health Guidelines
Thanks to the actions Minnesotans have taken over the past month, COVID-19 cases in our state are trending downward. As a result, several restrictions were relaxed earlier this week. While this is certainly encouraging news, we must protect the progress we’ve made. Please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and get tested if you’re feeling sick. You can find more information about Minnesota’s response to COVID-19 at staysafe.mn.gov.
Vaccine Distribution Update
Finally, I’m pleased to report that approximately 146,900 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 12,700 Ramsey 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, Minnesota’s new Vaccine Data Dashboard is a great resource.
The Trump Administration has held back millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for reasons unknown. It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of the vaccines that have been produced have been held back by the federal government. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that they would grant a request from Governor Walz and eight other governors to release these critically-needed vaccines.
I hope to see you at our virtual town hall on Saturday! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, ideas, or feedback or if I can be of assistance.
State Representative, District 64B
503 State Office Building
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