I hope this email finds you well. Here’s the latest news from the Capitol:
COVID-19 Business Relief
The Minnesota Department of Revenue recently issued $67.3 million in COVID-19 Business Relief Payments to 3,981 restaurants, bars, gyms, and similar businesses across the state. These payments were part of the bipartisan assistance package that the Minnesota Legislature passed in December.
Businesses that don’t receive a payment but think they meet the program criteria can contact the Department of Revenue through an online inquiry process. The inquiry process will be open until Friday, February 5. An additional round of payments will be made after that date for businesses that qualify.
The legislation we approved last month also delivered funding for Minnesota’s counties to set up local grant relief programs. Washington County, which received $5,058,997 for this purpose, has begun accepting applications from local businesses and non-profit organizations. You can find more information and apply here.
Democracy for the People Act
This is a critical moment for our democracy. Today, several of my House DFL colleagues introduced the Democracy for the People Act, legislation that aims to ensure Minnesotans can make their voices heard and that our democracy is responsive to their needs. We’re fighting to strengthen and expand voter registration and absentee voting; reduce the influence of corporations and wealthy, well-connected donors; protect voters and elections officials; and reform our state’s campaign finance system to empower small donors. You can find more information about the bill here.
Vaccine Distribution Update
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Department of Health launched a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program. The new program will administer vaccines to Minnesotans who are 65 or older, teachers, school staff, and child care workers. Eligible Minnesotans can make an appointment at nine locations across the state. While appointments are currently full, available spots will refresh every Tuesday at noon. The vaccine supply is extremely limited at the moment, but this program will help our state prepare to quickly and equitably distribute vaccines once more are available.
Make Your Voice Heard
The City of White Bear Lake has undertaken a Welcoming and Inclusive Community Initiative. They are seeking volunteers to serve on a task force that will make recommendations for furthering equity and improving our community for everyone who lives and works in White Bear Lake. If you’re interested in serving, you can find more information here. Applications are due on Friday, January 29.
Thank you for the honor of serving our community. Please feel free to share any questions, ideas, or input by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-3018.