I’d like to thank everyone who joined my virtual town hall meeting last week. A video of the event, which included a conversation with a nurse who cares for COVID-19 patients, is available here for those of you who couldn’t participate in real-time.
I also want you to know that I am here to help you if you need assistance accessing food or needed services during this time. As your State Representative, I believe it is not only my job to vote on legislation, but to act as an advocate and resource for constituents. Please do not hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com or call my office at 651-296-7153. We are all in this together.
Protecting Minnesotans’ Economic Security
Last week, my colleagues and I passed the COVID-19 Economic Security Act, a package of legislation to help Minnesotans keep a roof over their heads, preserve their small businesses, access high-speed broadband, and continue caring for vulnerable members of our society. The bill invests in aid for renters and homeowners and small business loans. It also includes funding to expand broadband access and to increase wages for personal care assistants. More information about the COVID-19 Economic Security Act is available here.
Guaranteeing Pay for Hourly School Workers
We also passed legislation to ensure paraprofessionals, nutrition services staff, bus drivers, and other hourly school employees get paid through the end of the school year. Many of these workers are facing financial uncertainty as a result of the transition to distance learning. They deserve to be compensated for the valuable services and support that they’re still providing to students. More information about this bill is available here.
Ensuring Safe and Secure Elections
Minnesotans shouldn’t have to risk their health to participate in our democracy. We recently approved a bipartisan bill to protect the health and safety of election officials and voters. It allows our state to use federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to prepare for increased absentee voting, open new polling locations, purchase sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and expand public outreach. It also includes funding to help protect our election system from hacking and foreign interference. You can read more about the legislation here.
Protecting Long-Term Care Residents and Workers
Governor Walz recently shared a five-point plan to protect Minnesotans in long-term care facilities. In the coming days, our state will expand testing for residents and workers at long-term care facilities, create teams to provide testing support, provide additional personal protective equipment to long-term care facilities, ensure adequate staffing levels, and partner with local public health organizations. More information about the new plan is available here. I have heard from many of you about this issue and share your concerns. I have family living in nursing homes in both rural Minnesota and the metro area. I value protecting our seniors at this critical time.
Over a year ago, we learned how the Water Gremlin company poisoned the air in our communities for nearly two decades. Since that time, we have been pushing to ban the use of that toxic chemical, trichloroethylene (TCE), to protect other communities statewide. Thanks to the tireless work of a group of citizen advocates, we’re very close to this bill being signed into law by the Governor. A bill to ban TCE will be heard on the House floor on Wednesday. Here is a link to a recent story on WCCO about this important bill.
Supporting Minnesota Breweries
Like many Minnesotans, I appreciate the role that craft breweries and distilleries play in our communities. I recently signed on as a co-author on a bill that would provide some temporary relief to these small businesses, many of which are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more information about the bill here.
Income Tax Filing Reminder
While taxpayers have until July 15 to file their 2019 state and federal income tax returns, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is urging Minnesotans to file their 2019 returns as soon as possible. The sooner you file a return, the sooner the department can review and process the return and issue a refund. Please remember that thousands of people are eligible to file electronically for free. Click here to find out if you qualify.
Service Opportunities Available Now
The AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative, a new program scheduled to start in June, will provide opportunities for 200 Minnesotans to serve their communities in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. AmeriCorps members will help schools, non-profit organizations, and government agencies address food insecurity, facilitate distance learning, assist older Minnesotans, support our health care system, and more. You can learn more about the program and apply here. Applications will be accepted until May 20.
Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-7153.