On Monday the House passed a bill I authored, the Healthy Start Act. The bill was signed by the Governor and the practice of separating newborn babies from incarcerated moms will now end in Minnesota. By keeping babies with their mothers, we will improve health outcomes for the babies, end generational cycles of trauma, and improve recidivism rates for the mothers. I have worked hard on this bill since visiting the Shakopee prison in 2019. I am grateful to the formerly incarcerated mothers, doulas and advocates who brought this important issue to our attention. You can watch our discussion and passage of this critical bill here. The legislation was also featured on Kare11, here.
Final Days of Session
As the 2021 Legislative Session winds down, we are working long hours to attempt to reach compromise with the Senate to finalize our state budget. It is expected we will be in floor session over the weekend to continue to pass policy bills while budget negotiations continue.
Right now, legislative leaders are meeting to set legislative ‘budget targets’ which will fix funding for each budget area. We are currently in conference committees to review differences between each chamber’s versions of the budget bills and ultimately reach a bipartisan compromise. I am serving on the Judiciary and Public Safety conference committee. We are meeting several hours per day, and we have made multiple offers to the Senate in attempts to get negotiations going. Although the process can be frustrating I am hopeful we will eventually be able to find common ground.
Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions
Governor Tim Walz announced the end of Minnesota’s statewide mask requirement, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding people who are fully vaccinated. The CDC still recommends that if you have not been vaccinated, you should wear a mask indoors in public spaces. Private businesses and local municipalities may still put in place face covering requirements, and Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect.
Direct Scheduling for Vaccinations Now Available!
Minnesotans can now use the Vaccine Connector to directly schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the state’s Community Vaccination Program locations, including children ages 12 and older. You can visit VaccineConnector.mn.gov to directly schedule appointments at Community Vaccination locations around the state. Here is how you can get your shot:
Rent help is now available if you have fallen behind on rent, utilities, or have an upcoming rent payment you won’t be able to make. A Renter’s Checklist is available here to help determine eligibility and ensure you have everything needed to apply. Please learn more and apply for aid here.
Stay in Touch
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance or if you have questions or feedback that you’d like to share. You can follow me on Facebook here and you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-7153.