Already the vaccine has proven very effective in protecting our most vulnerable Minnesotans. In long-term care settings, deaths are down 97% from their November peak, and cases are down 89%. Demand continues to outpace the supply our state is receiving, but good news is coming soon with the expected approval of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. If you sign up for Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector, you’ll receive a notification when you’re eligible and be connected with opportunities to receive the vaccine. In the meantime, while there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, it’s important to continue practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask around others, and getting a test if you feel you need one.
A Smoke Free Generation
Minnesotans advocating for the issues important to them have adapted to remote operations, and organizations have shifted their “Days on the Hill” to virtual Zoom meeting events. This week, I joined ClearWay Minnesota’s virtual rally for a Smoke Free Generation, where Minnesota students advocated for legislation to help curb the increasing rates of tobacco addiction we’ve seen in recent years.
I’m proud to share that I’m the chief author of several public and preventative health measures, including HF 572 and HF 569, both of which invests in efforts to fight tobacco addiction. I’m also a co-author of HF 904, which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Minnesota. We’ve made a lot of progress in our state when it comes to lowering the rates of youth tobacco addiction; however, we must continue these efforts in order to improve lung health, reverse the youth tobacco epidemic and encourage adults to quit.
Telehealth Legislation Advances
Two of my bills to expand access to telemedicine advanced out of the House Commerce Committee today. The first would specifically expand and clarify coverage of telehealth services under private sector insurance, Medical Assistance (MA), and MinnesotaCare. My other bill would allow Minnesota to join a multi-state compact that allows psychologists to practice tele-psychology across state lines, expanding access to mental health services.
Minnesota’s Economic Forecast Announced
Twice each year, near the end of November and February, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) produces a forecast of the state’s General Fund revenues and expenditures for current and future bienniums. Based on the announcement from today, there is no longer an anticipated shortfall for 2022-23 fiscal year. The projected positive balance is due to higher revenue forecast, lower state spending, and an increased balance for the current fiscal year.
It's important to note that this is a projection; Minnesota’s forecast does not take into consideration rates of inflation. Now more than ever, it’s going to be important we make sure we’re protecting investments that put us on a strong road to recovery post-pandemic. I am particularly focusing on people and patients as we go into bipartisan budget negotiations.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at email@example.com or 651-296-4315 with input or questions. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to help when I can.
Enjoy the mild weekend!