This week, the House advanced our Economic Security package that invests in housing, health care, economic security, education and healthy communities.
Also, this week, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released an updated budget, projecting a $2.426 billion deficit in the current biennium. While certainly unwelcome news, the executive and legislative branches have worked over the last decade to smartly manage our state’s resources, resulting in $350 million in the state’s cash flow account and $2.359 billion in the budget reserves. Minnesota has also received nearly $2 billion in federal aid to help provide economic security to get through the COVID-19 crisis.
We have the resources to get through this unprecedented disruption of our daily lives. By staying home, we can keep everyone safe and start the road to recovery. Minnesotans care about each other and we will get through this together.
TOWN HALL THIS WEDNESDAY
Please join Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, Sen. Steve Cwodzinski and me for a Town Hall on Wednesday, May 13 at 12:00 p.m. We are looking forward to answering your COVID-19 related questions and to discuss other legislative issues.
You can submit questions in advance here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SD48MN
Long-term care facility announcement
This week, Governor Walz unveiled a new 5-point plan to support our long-term care facilities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about the plan here.
Elective surgeries to resume
Gov. Walz signed an executive order allowing the resumption of certain elective surgeries. Read about this and all Gov. Walz’s executive orders here.
Election security and help for hourly school workers
This week the House approved legislation that allows the state to receive federal funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and additional measures to ensure Minnesota’s elections remain safe and secure. In addition to improving accessibility and modernizing election security, HAVA funds will be used to ensure the health and safety of election officials and in-person voters. This includes preparation for increased absentee voting, new polling place locations, the purchase of sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and public outreach for implementing social distancing guidelines related to voting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional funds were made available for virus-specific measures through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The House also approved the COVID-19 response legislation for hourly school workers. The legislation provides compensation for hourly school employees and allows entities that contract with schools to provide services to be reimbursed for paying their employees, for changes in school employment practices as a result of COVID-19 related school closures and the conversion to distance learning programs.
This week we marked Teacher Appreciation Week! Educators are not only selfless public servants, but they have gone above and beyond while facing unique challenges navigating distant learning for their students. The work that our teachers are doing to make a difference for our students across the state is inspiring. Thank you!
National Nurses Day was also observed this week. Nurses are heroes every day, but during the pandemic we want to express our deep gratitude more than ever for all they do.
Here are steps we can continue to all take to stay healthy:
- COVID-19 primarily spreads by droplets in the air. For your safety and the safety of others, the best thing to do to slow the spread is to stay home. When you do go out in public, stay at least six feet away from other people and wear a mask.
- Wash your hands often and when you wash them, do so for 20 seconds before rinsing (that means singing Happy Birthday twice before rinsing).
- COVID-19 can also spread from surfaces to you, but only via mucous membranes. In other words, it can only infect you by going from your hands to your eyes, nose or mouth (it cannot infect you through your skin). Therefore, don’t touch your face. This is hard to stop doing (we are creatures of habit), so if you touch your face think about why and look to identify triggers. That will help you break the habit.
- If sick, stay home. If you are very sick (i.e. fever, cough, and shortness of breath) and you feel like you need to see someone, call first or do an e-visit. Do not just show up to your clinic, Urgent Care, or Emergency Dept. without notifying them first. This helps the clinic, Urgent Care, or Emergency Dept. prepare for you and helps avoid infecting others.
- When you cough, use your sleeve to cover your mouth and help prevent forming droplets that can infect others.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.
Laurie Pryor State Representative