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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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End of Session Update

Monday, May 18, 2020
Rep. Stephenson

Dear Neighbors,

The Legislature adjourned on Sunday at midnight. While we found a fair amount of bipartisan consensus on various pieces of legislation amid extraordinary circumstances of the COVID global pandemic, there is more work to be done.

I’d like to invite you to join me for a virtual town hall meeting, this Thursday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. for an end-of-session update, and to ask questions. We’ll be using the platform Zoom, so you’re welcome to join us online or by phoning in. Here’s the information:

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Join Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84893566670

Call in: 1-312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 848 9356 6670


Below I’ve highlighted a few of these bipartisan measures that have been signed into law, or close to becoming law, and what I am focused on addressing over the summer.

 

COVID-19 public health preparedness

Responded immediately to provide resources for Minnesota’s healthcare workforce and public health infrastructure to enable an aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Emergency assistance for workers, families, and businesses

Invested in assistance for housing, food security, small business loans, child care, and veterans.

 

First responders workers’ compensation

Ensured that nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, child care providers, corrections officers, and healthcare professionals can receive workers’ comp benefits if they contract COVID-19 on the job.

 

Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act

Provided emergency access to insulin and made insulin more affordable over the long term. Held insulin manufacturers accountable for soaring costs by requiring them to provide insulin for the emergency program.

 

Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act

Required drug manufacturers to make their pricing information public to improve accountability and build public pressure to drive down skyrocketing costs.

 

Election safety and security

Improved cybersecurity and expanded absentee voting to protect the health and safety of election officials and in-person voters.

 

Help for farmers and producers

Expanded resources for mental health needs, grain bin safety, and emergency financial aid.

 

Tobacco 21

Raised the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 to help stop addiction before it starts, improve public health, and save lives.

 

TCE ban

Became the first US state to ban trichloroethylene (TCE), which can increase risks for certain types of cancer and other serious health issues.


Next Steps:

 

Jobs and local projects

Minnesotans are asking the Legislature to invest in jobs and local projects. We know people are hurting from the impact of COVID-19, and we have an opportunity to help by investing in our communities and creating statewide economic activity. I have fought and will continue to advocate for our Champlin and Coon Rapids infrastructure needs, like a lane addition to Highway 10, rebuilding Mississippi Point Park, making critical repairs to Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and more.

 

Housing assistance for renters and homeowners

All Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to be safe and healthy. Minnesotans can’t stay safe and healthy if they can’t afford their rent or mortgages.

 

Compensation for hourly school workers

Our school employees — paraprofessionals, lunch staff, child care workers, bus drivers, and others — are frontline workers in the COVID pandemic, providing essential services to our students and families and they deserve economic security.

 

Wage increases for personal care attendants

At-risk populations are having increased difficulty finding personal care attendants (PCAs) during the pandemic. Our PCAs are incredibly dedicated and hard-working and deserve a boost in pay to stay on the job in the face of COVID-19.

 

Loans for small and minority-owned businesses

The small family businesses here in Minnesota deserve a chance to make it to the other side of COVID-19 just as much as the big corporations being prioritized by Washington D.C.

 

Aid for low-income families and children

Low-income families and children are especially challenged now. Helping them through this tough spot helps build a better future for Minnesota.

 

Better broadband access

Expanding access to broadband expands opportunity for all Minnesotans. While we have made progress, there are still too many parts of rural Minnesota that don’t have adequate access.

 

Contact tracing

To safely reopen our economy, we need to establish a contact tracing, case investigation, and follow-up program for COVID-19 cases.

 


Keep in Touch

Although we’ve adjourned, I’m still working for you and our Champlin and Coon Rapids communities. Please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime with questions, ideas, or input.

I value hearing from you!

It’s an honor to serve you at the legislature.

Sincerely,

Zack Stephenson

State Representative  

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