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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michelle (Shelly) Christensen (DFL)

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The Start of the 2021 Legislative Session

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Rep. Christensen

Dear Neighbors, 

We’re wrapping up our first full week of the 2021 Legislative Session, and the orderly calm around the start of our work for the year has been in stark contrast to the violence we saw in D.C. last week. Minnesota has not been exempt from the disinformation and harmful rhetoric that sparked the riots in our nation’s capital, but it’s important that we strive for unity and truth as we prepare to build back better for our state and nation. That being said, those that should choose to incite or actively take part in violence must be held accountable - that’s how we move forward.

Here’s an update on our work in St. Paul:



Priorities for the House DFL

This week, my DFL colleagues and I in the Minnesota House unveiled our priority legislation for the House DFL Caucus this year, which is largely focused on getting our state through this pandemic and helping Minnesotans bounce back. These are trying times, but we get through them by protecting and investing in the resources that help Minnesotans who have been hurt the most by COVID-19. You can read more about our initial priorities here.

Session Priorities


The Latest on the COVID-19 Vaccine

Over 153,300 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 6,785 Washington County residents. As you may have heard or seen in the news, the vaccine is being administered in phases. Health care workers and long term care residents will be the first to receive it, followed by essential workers, those 65 or older, and those with underlying health conditions. If you’d like to stay updated throughout the vaccine distribution process, our state’s new Vaccine Data Dashboard is a great resource.  



Rolling Back Measures for Businesses & Gatherings

Thanks to our shared sacrifice in adhering to public health guidelines, COVID cases have been on a consistent downward trend in Minnesota. In response to this decrease in cases, Governor Walz has been able to roll back restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms, and other venues and gatherings.

Dial update

The changes include the following:

  • Indoor dining at bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain six feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; reservations are required; and establishments must close dine-in service by 10 p.m.
  • Gym capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150 and classes can increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Machines and people must maintain 9 feet of distance. Face coverings are required.
  • Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25 percent capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required.
  • Indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums – may open at 25 percent, with no more than 150 people in each area of the venue. Face coverings are required, and they may not offer food service after 10 p.m.
  • Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of January 4 and games resume January 14 with spectators, following the appropriate capacity limits for indoor or outdoor venues. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
  • Places of worship remain open at 50% capacity but without an overall maximum capacity.

While this is helpful for our local businesses, it remains incredibly important that we continue to social distance, wash our hands, wear a mask, and get tested



Follow Along This Session

This session, I’m happy to share that I’ll be serving on the House Climate and Energy Finance and PolicyEducation Policy, and Legacy Finance committees, as well as the Vice Chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy committee. I look forward to updating you on our committee work. 

Though you’re still unable to observe the legislative process in person, we’ve increased the number of available livestreams on the House of Representatives webpage to ensure the public is able to watch all of our committee hearings and floor sessions, which you can access here

If you have any questions or comments for me, the best way to touch base is through email ( or phone (651/296-4244). You’ll either hear back from me or our new legislative assistant, Isabel. I appreciate hearing from you. 



Representative Shelly Christensen

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