I wish you, your loved ones, and our entire community a happy holiday season. Now is a time for us to reconnect with one another and to reflect on what is really important in our lives. Even though times can seem grim, there is still plenty of joy and beauty to be found. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!
New Law Takes Effect
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, a person’s driver’s license cannot be suspended following a conviction for driving after suspension, driving after revocation or based solely on a person’s failure to pay a traffic ticket, parking fine or surcharge following a conviction for a vehicle operation or parking citation. Right now, approximately 20,000 Minnesotans have suspended licenses for failing to pay fines or fees, or missing a court date - and most of these people still need to be able to drive to get to work or school and to care for their families. I was proud to chief author this bipartisan legislation and am happy to see it going into effect in the coming days!
Many other new laws will also take effect on January 1, 2022. Check out the full list here.
If you have a tree to dispose of, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says the best thing to do is use a curbside tree collection service or bring your tree to a designated drop-off site. You can learn more about these eco-friendly methods here.
MMB Budget Forecast
Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released a new budget forecast showing a projected balance of $7.7 billion for the current two-year budget cycle.
Minnesota is in a strong position thanks to sound economic management and investment in our communities. This forecast is broadly good news, but it highlights the fact that the COVID recession and ongoing economic recovery has hurt lower income and middle-class Minnesotans more. Now is our chance to fund the services that will spread this recovery across our state evenly, including priorities like affordable childcare, education, housing investment, and hero pay for pandemic workers. I will work hard to ensure our community benefits from this budget fairly while pushing for policies that will lift up the entire state.
Cold Weather Rule and Energy Assistance
As the weather gets colder, here is some info you should keep in mind. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR), which is administered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, protects residential utility customers from having electric or natural gas service shut off between October 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. For more information, see the PUC’s Shutoff Protection page or call the PUC’s Consumer Affairs Office at 651-296-0406.
You may qualify for the Energy Assistance Program. By submitting one application through the Energy Assistance Program, you could qualify for payments to cover both water and energy bills, and qualify for the Minnesota Weatherization Program. See the 2022 income guidelines and apply.
The COVID-19 situation in Minnesota remains serious, with hospital admissions increasing and intensive care units nearing capacity. As a result, others needing emergency care – often for non-COVID related conditions – are forced to wait. Overwhelmingly, those with the most serious COVID illnesses admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated.
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals working in hospitals are physically exhausted and emotionally drained. Leaders from Minnesota’s health care systems recently purchased a full-page ad pleading with Minnesotans to do their part to help end this crisis. If you haven’t yet, please get your COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster shot. The vaccine is free, safe, and effective toward preventing community transmission. Perhaps most importantly, if you happen to contract COVID-19, the vaccine is remarkably effective in reducing the risk of serious illness or death. Also, wear a mask around others and if you have symptoms, stay home and get tested.
Remote Undergraduate Internship Opportunity
The House Sergeant-at-Arms Office will administer a remote Undergraduate Internship Program for the 2022 legislative session.
The undergraduate internship program is structured around a focus on serving and learning. A sincere interest in public service is expected of all applicants for a House internship. A genuine desire to learn is also expected and in a dynamic and influential institution like the House, opportunities for learning abound. For a detailed description of the program click 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 and you can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-7153.