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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL)

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Legislative Update- January 15, 2021

Friday, January 15, 2021

Rep. Morrison


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you and yours staying well. Committee work is underway at the Capitol, and we’ve hit the ground running in the House. My primary focus remains on finding COVID-19 recovery and rebuilding strategies by connecting with our local cities in 33B and listening to community members and leaders. The plan my House colleagues announced this week aims to address this on the state level by protecting economic security for workers and businesses, enhancing health care and human services, education, and child care. It’s not an exhaustive list, but these first priorities represent some concrete steps lawmakers can take right now to address urgent challenges facing Minnesotans hurt most by the pandemic.

You can read more nonpartisan coverage of our plan at the Minnesota House’s Public Information Service Session Daily publication here.

Session Priorities

I’ve reached out to all our cities’ mayors and have had the opportunity to touch base with most of them to discuss our communities’ infrastructure improvement requests as we begin to share those needs with our House Capital Investment Committee. This panel of legislators is charged with developing a robust, bipartisan bill that funds local projects in communities across the state. These investments will go a long way in our recovery efforts post-pandemic, especially in helping more Minnesotans get back to work.  

COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Update

COVID-19 Vaccine distribution and administration continues. As of today, approximately 164,040 Minnesotans have received the first dose, including 32,826 in Hennepin County. As I’ve shared in my previous update, the vaccine is being administered in phases, starting with health care workers and long-term care residents. The CDC released updated federal guidance early this week to prioritize those 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions, however, we need more vaccines shipped to Minnesota before we can implement that guidance.

It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of the vaccines produced have been held back by the federal government. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that they would grant a request from Governor Walz and eight other governors to release millions of these critically-needed vaccines.

The newly created COVID-19 Data Dashboard provides a more visual and user-friendly way to view key vaccination data for our state. The dashboard includes information on the number of vaccine doses allocated to the state by the federal government, the number shipped to Minnesota providers, and the number ultimately administered to Minnesotans. The data will be updated daily at 11:00 a.m.




Protecting our Treasured Boundary Waters

I was proud to join my colleagues Representative Jim Davnie and Senator Steve Cwodzinski this week to announce our Boundary Waters Permanent Protection Bill. Minnesota’s crown jewel deserves permanent protection from toxic sulfide mining and our legislation aims to do that by banning toxic sulfide-ore copper mining on state lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. You can view our virtual our press conference here.

Business Relief Payments Begin

Governor Walz announced yesterday that the Minnesota Department of Revenue has issued $67.3 million in COVID-19 Business Relief Payments to 3,891 eligible businesses in Minnesota. The relief payments were part of the bipartisan legislation the Legislature passed in December to help restaurants, bars, gyms, and bowling centers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation also delivers direct funding to all of Minnesota’s 87 counties to set up local grant relief programs.

Direct payment requirements for businesses include:

  • Location in Minnesota
  • Had at least $10,000 in taxable sales in 2019
  • Filed Sales Tax returns in 2019 and 2020
  • Experienced a 30% drop in year-over-year taxable sales for April-September periods
  • Being categorized by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance program as a restaurant, bar, gym, bowling center, or similar business

Businesses that did not receive a COVID-19 Business Relief Payment but think they meet the program criteria can contact the department. An online inquiry process will be available beginning Tuesday, January 19, and will remain open through Friday, February 5. An additional round of payments will be made after that date for businesses that qualify.

Please contact me if you have questions or need help with this process.

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at or 651-296-4315 with input or questions. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance whenever I can.

If you have neighbors, friends, or family who you think would find these updates valuable, please share this with them; they can subscribe here. You’re also welcome to “like” or “follow” me on Facebook.

Thank you for the honor of serving District 33B in the Minnesota House of Representatives!

Have a safe weekend.