Despite the ongoing pandemic, I hope you’re all able to find ways to safely celebrate and reflect as we mark the anniversary of our nation’s independence this week. To date, Minnesota has completed over 500,000 COVID-19 tests, and we’re at the point where any Minnesotan who needs a test can receive one. As other states begin to see a spike in cases, it’s important that we continue to implement public safety guidelines as we go about our day.
At the forefront of our efforts to combat COVID-19 have been our local governments, which continue to provide the services we need despite these unprecedented times. Last week, Governor Walz announced a plan to deliver $841 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to Minnesota’s counties and cities. Under the formula, Nicollet County will receive $4.1 million, North Mankato will receive $1 million, and St. Peter will receive $900,000. These funding levels are based on our work in the Minnesota House, and I applaud the governor’s efforts to get these funds to our communities.
Assistance for Small Businesses - Apply Today!
An early success from the special session was legislation I supported that would provide assistance to some of the smallest businesses in our community impacted by COVID-19. The bill created a $62.5 million fund with grants of up to $10,000. With a focus on businesses with 50 or fewer employees, these grants will provide businesses with the assistance they need to weather these difficult times. To be eligible, the business must meet the following requirements:
- Have a permanent physical location in Minnesota,
- Be owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota,
- Be in good standing with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office and the Dept. of Revenue as of March 1, 2020, and
- Demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike previous funds, these grants will be awarded by lottery. Today is the last day to apply. You can find more information and apply here.
Yesterday, several new laws went into effect, including the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, and my legislation funding farmer safety measures. Minnesota was an unfortunate leader in fatal grain bin accidents last year, but the statistics around this issue have been far too real for our community since we tragically lost Landon Gran. Part of this new law on farmer safety includes $50,000 for grain storage facility safety equipment grants and another $50,000 for outreach on the issue. The success of these measures is thanks in large part to the advocacy of those in our community championing Landon’s cause.
An Age Friendly Minnesota
The AARP has put out a survey to inform the work of the Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota, which is working to drive coordinated action across state agencies and move Minnesota toward being a more livable, age friendly state. The full survey can be taken by individual Minnesota residents, age 45+ through July 3, 2020. You can take the survey here.
Minnesota’s COVID-19 Dashboard remains the best source for accurate, updated information. You can also follow along with our work on my Facebook page, here. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 296-8634. It’s an honor to represent you in the Minnesota House, and I appreciate your input. Wishing you a safe and healthy 4th of July!
Your Partner in St. Paul,
State Representative, District 19A