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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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Staying Vigilant

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

A lot has happened in the last week, most pressing of which is certainly how the Legislature is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic right here in Minnesota.  This health crisis is topmost on the list of concerns as we continue to do the work ensuring every Minnesotan has access to quality health care, the security of earned safe and sick time, and a warm bed to lay their head on every night.  Please follow the guidelines to keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.

Minnesota is well prepared for COVID-19

This week the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to better ensure that public health officials are prepared to respond to COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus. The bill appropriates approximately $21 million dollars to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and was signed into law by Governor Tim Walz. 

MDH has set up a public hotline that will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 651-201-3920. You can also visit www.health.state.mn.us for up-to-date and accurate information about what Minnesota is doing to prepare for and stop the spread of COVID-19.

DFL leadership introduced a set of bills this Wednesday that would help Minnesota continue to combat COVID-19 and reduce any financial consequences of mitigating the spread of the virus. I will keep you informed of any future developments on our end. The Governor is set to speak today, Friday 13 at 1:00pm so keep an eye out for potential updates. The Legislature is monitoring this situation closely and has proven it is ready to react swiftly when the need arises.

Education Symposium begins to tackle racial inequities in Minnesota schools

Legislators gathered March 6 at the State Office Building for an all-day Education Symposium focused on addressing racial inequities in Minnesota schools. We’re collaborating with and learning from experts and people who are most impacted -- because we believe that every child deserves a world-class education. Click here to download the agenda and check here in the coming days for a full video replay.

Student mental health press conference

On Monday I attended a press conference to announce efforts to strengthen mental health care for our students. Many districts, teachers and support staff have come to us repeatedly warning that mental health resources are deficient in our schools. We are proposing to increase the number of teachers who undergo mental health training, and to create a new position under the Minnesota Department of Education that will share high level mental health guidance with school districts. You can read the press release here.

Welcome to the 2020 Census

For the first time Minnesotans can complete the US census online - it's quick and easy! The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete and it's safe, secure, and confidential. Your information and privacy are protected.

Keep in mind that your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services. And that the results from the 2020 Census will also be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and our political representation at all levels of government.  Please take a few minutes of your time to ensure that we not only have proper representation but also receive the federal funds that allow Minnesota to thrive. Click here to be in the count!

census 2020

Keep in touch

That's all for now - as always, please reach out with comments and questions at rep.mary.kuneshpodein@house.mn or 651-296-4331… and wash your hands!

Sincerely,Mary KP

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