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The 2022 Legislative Session convened at noon Monday, and echoing the work of the last two years, this session will focus on helping Minnesotans most impacted by the pandemic. Many of our neighbors have been deeply affected in every part of their lives, and now, with a $7.7 billion projected positive budget forecast, we can direct resources where they are needed.
We will only succeed when we all work together and we’re already getting to work to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. I am looking for your input so please take a moment to complete my legislative survey here.
Thank you to all who attended the Town Hall last week. If you couldn’t join us, go to my Facebook page to watch.
Our first week of session was busy. One highlight was the discussion of two bills in Wednesday’s Preventive Health Committee on the dangers of lead exposure. HF 2556 proposes ways to transition from lead ammunition to nontoxic and HF 2650 establishes a residential lead service line replacement grant program. We heard powerful testimony from Dr. Zeke McKinney, an environmental and preventive health physician, who concluded his testimony by noting lead exposure and its impacts can never be reversed but can almost always be prevented. Dr McKinney reminded us, “there is no safe level of lead exposure for anybody.”
We heard more key testimony this week from Dr. Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota. I appreciated the information on immunity to COVID-19, both immunity from vaccines and from infections.
Help for Workers Passes House
Thursday, the Minnesota House passed HF 1203, which would extend the law providing a presumption that if public safety or health care workers contract COVID-19, they did so during the course of their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation. The legislation passed on a bipartisan vote of 124-8.
The previous law allowing for this presumption sunsetted on December 31, 2021. The new bill would extend the presumption to January 13, 2023.
Workers impacted by this legislation include firefighters; peace and police officers; paramedics; EMTs; health care providers, nurses or assistive employees in a health care, home care or long-term care setting who work with COVID-19 patients; correctional officers or security counselors at correctional facilities; and childcare providers who are required to provide childcare for the children of first responders and health care workers under the Governor’s Executive Orders.
COVID-19 numbers are declining but continues to persist throughout Minnesota. By getting vaccinated, tested, receiving your booster, and taking measures to keep yourself and your family safe, we can help continue to drive those numbers down, help our health care workers and keep each other safe.
Families can now order up to 4 free COVID tests from the government. Go to https://www.covidtests.gov/ to get your test kits and many more resources.
Black History Month
If we don’t reflect, we can’t move forward. I’m grateful for the immeasurable contributions Black Minnesotans have made to Minnesota’s history.
Stay connected with the legislature
The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website here.
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.
Rep. Laurie Pryor