Thank you to everyone who participated in our Senate District 48 Town Hall on Wednesday. As usual, your questions were thoughtful. The Facebook format was new for me, but in the absence of a face-to-face town hall, it was great to interact with you! Sen. Cwodzinski, Rep. Koytza-Witthuhn and I hope to host another meeting soon. If you weren’t able to join us you can view the town hall here.
Changes in the Stay at Home order
On Wednesday, Governor?Walz?announced that the current stay at home order will expire on Monday, May 18th,?and will be replaced with an order allowing for more businesses to reopen as well as other changes. The governor also extended his peacetime emergency powers?through June 12th. These powers have enabled the governor to take necessary action to secure the safety of Minnesotans?and provide emergency relief to residents of our state who have been harmed economically by this pandemic.
You can read the full executive order?here.?
For more information on what businesses need to know, go to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) link.
Session winds down – Select committee announced – Floor action last Saturday
The legislative session must adjourn by midnight on Sunday. With some high priority bills remaining, including addressing several COVID-19 related bills and passage of a Jobs and Local Projects bill, we will be in session all weekend to finish our work. We also will likely meet in at least one special session to address needs brought on by the pandemic.
Speaker Hortman announced the formation of a Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding to respond to the COVID-19 response following adjournment of the regular legislative session. Read more in this Session Daily article.
Last Saturday we met in a weekend session to pass several bills, including legislation to boost payments for low-income working Minnesotans in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), raise the state’s tobacco purchasing age to 21, and provide transparency to the pricing of prescription drugs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know that you can vote safely, in your own home for the August primary and November general elections. The Minnesota Secretary of State is making a new tool available for registered voters to request that their ballot be sent to them by mail for the August 11 statewide primary and/or the November 3 general election.?
You can request an absentee ballot here. The online application will ask for an e-mail address and an identification number, either a Minnesota-issued driver's license, Minnesota ID card, or last 4 digits of Social Security Number.
You can check your voter registration status online. You can also register or update your voter registration online.
Here are steps we can continue to all take to stay healthy:
- COVID-19 primarily spreads by droplets. For your safety, the best thing to do is stay home. Even if healthy, stay home as much as is possible.
- If you are going out, stay at least six feet away from others and wear a facemask. The CDC recommends?wearing a cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies),?especially?in areas of significant community-based transmission.
- 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.