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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL)

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Legislative Update - Expanded Eligibility for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear neighbors,

On Tuesday, Governor Walz announced that 70 percent of Minnesotans who are 65 or older will be vaccinated by the end of the week. Since we’re poised to reach this goal two weeks earlier than anticipated, the state expanded eligibility and started the next phase of the vaccination plan yesterday.  

Now eligible

More than 1.8 million Minnesotans are now eligible to receive a vaccine, including:  

  • People with certain underlying conditions, including sickle cell disease, down syndrome, and oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant   
  • People with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk  
  • Food processing plant workers   

These groups will receive priority, but providers may offer available appointments to others who are eligible, including Minnesotans from the next tier:  

  • People 50 or older in multi-generational housing  
  • Essential frontline workers, including airport staff, child care workers who weren’t previously eligible, first responders, judicial system workers, public health workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, and those who work in agriculture; correctional settings; food production, retail, or service; manufacturing, and public transit  

If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get regular updates on vaccine availability and eligibility. In some cases, your employer will have more information on vaccine availability, and it’s a good idea to be in touch with your health care provider too. Vaccine supplies from the federal government are increasing, and this progress represents one more step towards the end of the pandemic.  

Protecting Minnesotans from Harmful Chemicals 

I presented two bills to the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee today. One bill requires the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to hold a public meeting with Minnesotans – including those who may have been put at risk – before finalizing agreements with facilities that violate environmental rules and regulations. If this legislation had been adopted before the Water Gremlin situation arose, our community would’ve had the opportunity to participate in the settlement process. The other bill requires certain facilities that emit hazardous air pollutants or certain chemicals of concern to undergo more frequent and rigorous testing. It also expands reporting requirements for these facilities. The goal is to ensure compliance and identify potential issues as quickly as possible. The committee voted to advance both of my bills.  

Preserving Minnesota History  

Yesterday, the Legacy Finance Committee heard a bill I authored to support the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) with revenue from the state’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. Under this legislation, $48 million will be appropriated to support MHS’s programming and partnerships; the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program, which provides grants to nonprofits, educational organizations, local governments, and tribes across the state; survey work at historical and archaeological sites; and the Minnesota Digital Library, an ongoing effort to digitize the state’s many resources. These investments will help preserve Minnesota’s rich history and culture for current and future generations.  

White Bear Lake Area Schools Selected for YST Grant 

White Bear Lake Area Schools was recently selected for a $95,000 grant from the Youth Skills Training (YST) Program! This funding will help the school district partner with local employers to create meaningful work experiences in the automotive industry. Students who participate will receive exposure to the industry, related classroom instruction, safety training, industry-recognized credentials, and paid work experience.  

Make Your Voice Heard  

Take My Legislative Survey  

It’s important to me to have as much input as possible as I advocate for our community. I’m grateful for all of the feedback I’ve received this year through email and phone calls, during meetings, and on social media. This week, I’m kicking off my 2021 legislative survey – a new way to share your thoughts! Please take a few minutes to share any concerns or challenges you have, as well as your vision for the future.  

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can ever be of assistance. Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community.  


Ami Wazlawik  
State Representative