May is Mental Health Awareness Month. On Sunday, my family participated in a virtual Out of the Darkness Walk hosted by Mounds View High School students to support suicide prevention efforts through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
This is an extremely challenging time and if you’re struggling, NAMI Minnesota has resources available here. If you’re in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text MN to 741741.
On a related note, yesterday the House Government Operations Committee unanimously passed my legislation to require mental illness training for all teachers when they renew their licenses. KSTP highlighted the bill in a story back in March. The bill now is set for a potential vote on the House Floor.
This coming Saturday from 10am-12pm, you’re invited to join me and my colleagues Rep. Hunter Cantrell of Savage and Rep. Ruth Richardson of Mendota Heights for a listening session about COVID-19’s impacts on those with disabilities. The first half will be devoted to learning the concerns of people with disabilities, and then caregivers and providers will have a chance to share their perspectives in the second half of the event.
You can access the meeting on Zoom, a free video conferencing service. Closed captioning service will be available here. If you’re unable to join us, feel free to share feedback by emailing me at email@example.com with “Town Hall” in the subject line, or leaving me a message at (651) 296-0141.
Monday the House approved a cornerstone of our COVID-19 Economic Security Agenda, which ensures hourly school workers – like paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and food service employees – will receive pay during our peacetime emergency. As a result of the transition to distance learning, many of these important team members in our schools have experienced financial uncertainty. They support our students to succeed, so it’s important we support them by protecting their economic security.
The legislation, which had bipartisan support, also addresses school finance formula glitches resulting from the conversion to the distance learning model, it has certain waivers regarding assessments, graduation and course requirements, and it fixes potential licensure issues faced by prospective and current teachers. You can read more about the bill here.
Minnesotans deserve to access the ballot box safely, and we should not have to choose between our democracy and our health in order to vote.
With broad bipartisan support, the House approved legislation allowing for the utilization of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds and measures to ensure Minnesota’s elections remain safe and secure. The bill includes solutions such as preparation for increased absentee voting, new polling place locations, the purchase of sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and public outreach for implementing social distancing guidelines related to voting. To address the threat of hacking and foreign interference, it also contains election security provisions.
Minnesotans deeply value civic engagement and routinely lead the nation in voter turnout. This bill, which you can read more about here, will help ensure we can continue to lead the way, safely.
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.