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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Matt Bliss (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, February 19, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Things have been relatively quiet on the House floor at this point of the 2021 session as the focus remains on bringing bills into the process in committees.

One of the next major news items we anticipate is the release of a new economic forecast for the state on Friday, Feb. 26. There have been recent indicators our state’s revenue is exceeding prior expectations, so it will be interesting to see what the state’s bottom line looks like. Stay tuned for more on that but, if the recent trend is projected to continue, it would make the governor’s plan to raise taxes by $1.7 billion an even bigger non-starter. 

As we await that information, is a look at some other recent headlines:

Re-opening Minnesota businesses 

As COVID-19 case numbers continue to improve, Minnesotans are wondering if the state has a plan to start re-opening businesses. While the governor has not shared details on this subject, House Republicans recently put forward an outline for how it could look.

What we are offering is not an all-or-nothing scenario. The objective is to get the ball rolling on this important discussion because we simply need a plan, and that information is not being communicated to Minnesotans from the executive office. We have been working with stakeholders to establish a reasonable timeline for reopening, with trigger mechanisms in place in the event of case spikes. 

The plan uses clear, predictable, data-driven metrics that determine future closings/reopenings. If at any time a surge reappears and changes are needed to this plan, the governor and the LCC must gather and decide, together, any new restrictions. The LCC will meet weekly (or bi-weekly) until June 1. They can together watch emerging trends, concerns or advance business openings more quickly when four or five agree. You can see a press conference with more details can be seen here.

New COVID-19 vaccine sign-up tool 

The Minnesota Department of Health today announced a new tool for all Minnesotans to sign up to receive an alert when there is a vaccine available to them — regardless if they are currently eligible to receive one. 

The “Vaccine Connector” is a tool for all Minnesotans who have not yet been vaccinated – the Vaccine Connector will notify you when it’s your turn for a shot. 

You don’t need to sign up if: 

  • You have already received your COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • You previously registered for our COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program. 
  • You completed the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Child Care survey.

The Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector will get you information about when, where, and how you can get the vaccine. 

It’s important to note that if you are eligible to get vaccinated right now, you do not have to wait for information from the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector before you get your shot. If your health care provider or employer contacts you about making an appointment, or if you have another opportunity to get vaccinated, you can and should do that. Click here for more on this new tool. 

Just a reminder the public meetings regarding the governor’s push to implement California’s auto restrictions in Minnesota are next week (3 p.m. both Feb. 22 and 23). Links to attend the online events can be found here. And input still can be provided at the Office of Administrative Hearings website until the March 15 deadline. A column I submitted to area newspapers takes a closer look at this subject.  



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