While 2020 is coming to a close, the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately continues to pose a significant public health threat. Additionally, workers, businesses, and families have been harmed economically due to no fault of their own. There are bright spots on the horizon though, which give us reason for optimism. Here’s an update on what we’ve been doing at the Capitol, as well as other helpful information for community members.
I invite you to join Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, Sen. Jason Isaacson, and me for a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, January 9 at 10 a.m. The Town Hall will be held on Zoom (meeting ID: 831 1637 7275; passcode: 320937).
If you’d like to ask a question during the event, please email it to email@example.com with “Town Hall” in the subject line, along with your name and address. You can also join the meeting by phone by calling 312-626-6799 and entering the ID and password when prompted.
We look forward to hearing from you about your ideas and priorities for the 2021 legislative session.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous economic hardship for many small businesses and workers. They urgently need help, and Monday, the Legislature approved a new economic assistance package designed to help small businesses, workers, and other Minnesotans struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of the plan include:
In the coming days, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will be reaching out to eligible businesses directly. More information on the Small Business Relief Program is available on the Department’s website.
To be clear, this legislation isn’t the end of the conversation. We’re still counting on the federal government to do its part and deliver a more comprehensive economic recovery package to help ensure everyone can emerge from this turmoil.
At the onset of the pandemic, high school students were initially deemed ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits under state law. The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed, and recently ruled that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, under the federal CARES Act, does in fact apply to student workers.
Unemployment benefits are now available for students whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and payments are being made retroactively. Student workers are encouraged to apply at www.uimn.org before December 26. More information is available from Youthprise.
Perhaps one of the most promising developments since the pandemic emerged is upon us, as the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Pfizer’s vaccine has earned FDA approval, and Moderna’s version is expected any day. The vaccines have limited side effects and are as much as 95% effective.
Last week, Governor Walz announced Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan. The plan will be executed in partnership with the federal government, local communities, and health providers, with the goal of quick, equitable, and safe delivery of the vaccine to Minnesotans in every corner of the state.
Our first supply of the vaccine is limited, so it will be delivered in phases to priority groups. The first phase – those in Group 1A – includes health care personnel and long-term care residents. Within this phase are sub-prioritization groups. Other priority groups will follow. The vaccine likely won’t be available to everyone until spring, so we will all need to continue practicing important precautions in the short term, like social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask around others, staying home if we’re sick, and getting tested if there are symptoms. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable development – both regarding how quickly it was developed and the effectiveness – and it hopefully represents one of the final chapters in this awful saga.
The next legislative session begins on January 5. As a result of COVID-19’s continued public health threat, the Minnesota House will continue to operate remotely, likely throughout the entire session. Still, I value hearing from you and I hope you’ll be in touch with your input, ideas, or if I can be of assistance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone number is 651-269-0141. I also encourage you to “like” or “follow” me on Facebook if you don’t already. Lastly, I hope you can join us for our Town Hall on January 9.
I’m wishing you and your family a safe and enjoyable and holiday season. It’s an honor to represent you.