I have spoken with many Edina residents over the last few days and we all share the common goal to reopen our community, but to do so safely. I'm pleased to share that Mayo says it has capacity do deliver testing needed to reopen Minnesota's economy. This is great news, but it also means for now, we must continue to operate in different ways than we are used to. More details to come.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced today a 13-week extension of Unemployment Insurance. In addition, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will provide unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers and others will be operational by end of April. If your UI benefits have been exhausted, you are encouraged to re-apply at DEED’s website.
Yesterday, the House and Senate reconvened session to approve a couple core pieces of legislation; a fourth COVID-19 emergency package and the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. I’d like to start this newsletter with the latter of the two.
Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act
The House initiated a strong plan that takes the best ideas from previous proposals and meets the goals of ensuring Minnesotans have emergency access to insulin and access to affordable insulin over the long-term, that the pharmaceutical industry participates in the solution, and that it can be set up quickly. This bipartisan compromise ensures Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need can access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a co-pay of $35. Eligible Minnesotans include those who are uninsured, under-insured, receiving Medicare and do not have access to low co-pays. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term. Insulin manufacturers will also participate in the program. Read more from the nonpartisan office of House Public Information here.
4th Package of COVID-19 Legislation
My colleagues and I also approved a package of bills to address COVID-19 daily disruptions to Minnesotans during the pandemic. These are policy fixes to help Minnesotans adjust to our current situation under the pandemic. Measures passed included additional support to help Minnesotans execute wills, allow local governments to meet remotely, suspend certain deadlines and expiration dates, expand use of telemedicine, and allowing Minnesotans to apply for their marriage license without appearing in person. Learn more about the bill here.
Free Public Transportation for Health Care Workers
The Metropolitan Council has announced free transportation to the region’s frontline healthcare workers for a safe and stress-free trip to and from work. Effective early this week, Metro Mobility is providing free door-to-door service from home to work and work to home for any person who works at a healthcare facility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This new service will provide solo or very small group on-demand rides for essential health care workers such as as doctors, nurses, home health aides, clinic staff, janitorial and all other support staff.
If you are a health care worker who used transit to get to work, or are interested in signing up for this free service, learn more here.
Virtual Town Hall-Tomorrow!
This is a friendly reminder to join the District 49 team tomorrow at 7 p.m. for a virtual town hall meeting. I’m looking forward to connecting with you then. Here are the details:
Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m., live streamed at www.facebook.com/RepHeatherEdelson/.