Today, April 15, would normally be Tax Day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Revenue issued a three-month extension to July 15 to file and pay 2019 Minnesota Individual Income Tax without any penalty and interest. Learn more here.
Yesterday, the House approved the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. After months of effort, a bipartisan consensus was recently reached which will give people with diabetes a way to access insulin in an emergency and a pathway to help Minnesotans access affordable insulin in the long-term. As you may recall, the bill was named for a young man from Richfield who tragically lost his life after he was forced to ration his insulin because he didn’t have the money to pay for the $1,300 refill. You can read more about the legislation here.
The Senate also passed the bill and has been signed into law by Governor Walz. This achievement was only made possible by the tireless advocacy from Alec’s parents – Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt – and everyone else who made countless trips to the Capitol letting lawmakers understand the urgency of this legislation. While this was an important milestone, I remain committed to further steps to reduce prescription drug prices for all Minnesotans.
Also yesterday, the House approved another bipartisan package of legislation aiding in our state’s response to COVID-19. This bill – our fourth since the pandemic emerged – delivers needed flexibility and assistance to Minnesotans in a variety of ways. I was the chief author of one provision which extends the deadline to contest automatic cost-of-living increases for child support. This measure was enacted due to the financial difficulty people are facing in addition to limited access to the courts at this time.
The legislation also helps Minnesotans execute wills, allows local governments to meet remotely, suspends certain deadlines and expiration dates, allows marriage applications to be submitted without the need to appear in person, expands use of telemedicine, gives the Department of Health authority to set up alternative health care facilities, and more. You can read a summary of the bill here.
Last Friday, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health released information to the public regarding the COVID-19 modeling Governor Walz and his administration rely on to make important decisions. The model predicts the peak of the epidemic (when the highest number of people have the condition), how many people that will be, and when we’re projected to exceed ICU bed capacity. There’s a great deal of interesting information to unpack, and I encourage you to explore this site, with info including slides from their presentation and frequently asked questions.
Today at 2 p.m., Governor Walz will have a briefing with MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly. He conducts these most days at 2 p.m. and they provide interesting insight into our response efforts. You can listen on MPR’s Facebook page.
Here’s a reminder about my Virtual Chat tomorrow at 4 p.m. We will gather on Zoom, and you can download the free software ahead of time (just click “Zoom Client for Meetings”). To join, click here when 4 p.m. is approaching. If you’d like to submit a question ahead of time, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Virtual Chat” in the subject line.
WHAT: Virtual Chat
WHEN: Thursday, April 16, 2020; 4 p.m.
WHO: Rep. Kelly Moller; Shoreview, Mounds View, Arden Hills, and Spring Lake Park neighbors
WHERE: Zoom, Meeting ID 739 203 735 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/739203735
(To access the meeting by phone, call 312-626-6799 and when prompted, enter the meeting ID. Long-distance charges may apply)
Continue to visit the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard for the latest accurate, up-to-date information about the pandemic as well as our state’s response. Also, the Minnesota House website’s COVID-19 section has information about legislative actions to date, as well as links to helpful resources. If I can be helpful, please call me at 651-296-0141 or email me. Also, if you don’t already, I invite you to “like” or “follow” my Facebook page.
Please take care of yourself and your family, and let’s all keep taking all the responsible steps to move past this pandemic.