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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020

Dear neighbors, 

First, I’d like to thank everyone who joined my virtual town hall last week and apologize to those of you who weren’t able to access the meeting. If you couldn’t participate, you can watch a video of the event here.

Please join me for another virtual town hall next Tuesday, May 5 at 12 p.m. This time we will be joined by a nurse to hear her perspective on what it’s like being on the front lines caring for patients with COVID-19.

Virtual Town Hall

To join the virtual town hall, you’ll need to download Zoom – a free video meeting app – and then click this meeting link. If you have trouble accessing the meeting via the link, you can also enter the meeting ID 849 9181 7398. The password is 4242.

Some video conferences have been ruined by internet trolls and we are trying to avoid that by having a password. Unfortunately, posting this password widely on social media increases the risk of trolls spamming the meeting. We will do our best to balance making sure folks can access the meeting and protecting the participants. Thank you for your patience and please reach out to my assistant Anna if you need additional assistance at anna.borgerding@house.mn.


Extended Stay at Home Order

Yesterday, Governor Walz announced that a modified version of the stay at home order will remain in effect until May 18. Starting on May 4, retail shops and non-critical businesses can start offering curbside pickup and delivery. More information about the extended stay at home order can be found here.

Extended Order


Extended Distance Learning

As you’ve likely heard, Governor Walz announced last week that distance learning will continue until the end of the school year. While I believe the governor and his team made the right call, I understand that distance learning has been challenging for teachers, students, and families. My colleagues and I will continue working closely with Governor Walz to improve the current system and better support students – especially students of color, students with disabilities, students from low-income families, and others who’ve been hardest hit by the transition to distance learning. We are also working to make sure hourly employees who work in our schools are supported during this time.


Reopening Businesses Safely, Protecting Workers & Customers

Reopening schools, workplaces, and our society will be a gradual process. While our efforts to slow the spread are working, we can’t immediately return to the way things were before the pandemic without jeopardizing the hard-fought progress we’ve made. Instead of just “flipping a switch,” we need to “gradually turn the dials.”

Adjusting the Dials

Governor Walz and his team have developed a plan to safely and gradually reopen the state, starting with industrial and office-based businesses. These workplaces are now allowed to reopen if they create a COVID-19 preparedness plan and follow rigorous guidelines. This means 80,000 to 100,000 Minnesotans who couldn’t work from home are now able to get back to work. More information about this plan is available here.

As more workers return to their jobs, we must make sure they can do so safely. If you are an employee and believe your employer is not following proper worker safety standards, please contact Minnesota OSHA Compliance at osha.compliance@state.mn.us, 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742 with questions.


Alternative Care Site in Roseville

Governor Walz and the State Emergency Operations Center recently announced that they’ve signed a lease for an alternative care site in Roseville. Presbyterian Homes-Langton Shores will provide low-level medical care or monitoring if it’s needed due to hospital capacity issues. This will help ensure that hospitals have the capacity to treat Minnesotans who need care during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about the alternative care site here.


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Available

Unemployment benefits are now available for self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others who aren’t eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has begun making payments to eligible workers.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

If you’ve already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you don’t need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will contact you if you’re eligible for these benefits. If you haven’t applied yet, special instructions for self-employed people and independent contractors are available here. Additional information, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found here.


Cities Speak Video

I was recently asked to check in with Cities Speak on CTV North Suburbs to answer some questions related to COVID-19. You can watch a video of the interview here.


NYFS Leadership Luncheon

Northeast Youth & Family Services (NYFS) is hosting their first-ever online leadership luncheon on Wednesday, May 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you’d like to participate, email sandra@nyfs.org to register by Friday, May 1. NYFS can’t offer a meal this year, but they’re encouraging folks to order takeout from a local restaurant. More details about the event are available here.


I hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance during these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Jamie Becker-Finn
State Representative

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