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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL)

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Legislative Update: February 26, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

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Rep. Edelson

Dear Neighbors, 

As of February 23, approximately 1,169,470 people have been vaccinated state-wide. While the increase in speed of distribution is heading in a hopeful direction, we need to continue to follow public health guidelines and hold out a little bit longer to ensure the safety of our neighbors. This week, I want to provide you with some answers about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process in Minnesota, and connect you with some resources that may be helpful to you. 

Right now, federal officials are sending states a very limited supply of vaccine. That is why we have to take a phased approach and give the first doses of vaccine to populations where we can have the greatest impact on health. Those priority populations were identified by the federal government. The graphic below breaks down the logistics of the process in a more visually digestive way. 


Eligibility for vaccination in Minnesota requires the following qualifications in our current phase:

  • Minnesotan age 65 or older
  • Health care worker 
  • Long-term care resident or staff member 
  • Pre-kindergarten through Adult Basic and Community Education school staff member, or contracted school staff member
  • Child care staff member at a licensed and certified child care center or program

In terms of useful resources, I would highly recommend signing up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. This tool is the easiest way to stay alert about your eligibility for a vaccination, connect to resources to schedule an appointment, and vaccination opportunities in your area. You can also click the following boxes for further information.


As Spring approaches we can also see our path out of this PandemicBelow is the Graphic that details more clearly, which population will get the vaccine and whenIt’s important to note that all Minnesotans by this Summer will be able to have access to get the vaccine. 


Update on Minnesota’s Economic Forecast

Twice each year, near the end of November and February, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) produces a forecast of the state’s General Fund revenues and expenditures for current and future bienniums. Based on the announcement from today, there is no longer an anticipated shortfall for 2022-23 fiscal year. The projected positive balance is $1.6 billion due to higher revenue forecast, lower state spending, and an increased balance for the current fiscal year.

At the legislature, we will work to prioritize investments that put people first and create a better quality of life for all Minnesotans.

Advocating for Sexual Assault Survivors 

Last week, I presented House File 289 before the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee. This legislation would grant immunity from prosecution to persons seeking emergency aid for a sexual assault survivor while underage or under the influence of certain controlled substances. This bill is what we know as a good samaritan bill,  which strives to remove the hesitations that hold witnesses back from reporting, finding help, or testifying to these crimes. Sexual violence is not a matter we can take lightly, and this bill is crucial to make Minnesota a safer place to live.

The bill was brought to me by a group of University of Minnesota policy students and you can hear their testimony in the full hearing footage here.

Healthier Kids Meals in Restaurants 

Recently, I introduced legislation to require restaurants to provide healthier meal options for children. The Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition identifies sugary drinks as one of the largest contributors to diet-related chronic-diseases. The bill would ask restaurants to offer milk or water as default beverages instead of sugar-heavy drinks that exceed the sugar intake appropriate for minor consumption. There is no ban or prohibition on sugary items; only reassessed default settings for what is included in a kids meal. 

The bill would go into effect starting August 2022, and would extend to a healthy side dish to be included starting August 2024. The phased-in timeline for implementation will help restaurants recover from pandemic related instability and integrate these requirements gradually. You can read about this conversation in greater detail here

Prohibiting Flavored Tobacco in Minnesota

Last week , the House Preventive Health Policy Division heard testimony on House File 904, which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products in Minnesota. The legislation, authored by Rep. Cedrick Frazier, advanced to the Health Finance and Policy Committee. Approximately 21 communities in the state currently have similar prohibitions, and while the legislation seeks to end the sale of these products, it would not punish their use.

I am proud to co-author this bill to address growing tobacco use by our youth and send a strong message to the tobacco industry that our children are off-limits. This bill is about preserving the health and safety of the next generation in Minnesota.

Driver’s Licenses for All Legislation

Last week, the Minnesota House DFL introduced driver's licenses for all legislation, extending the privilege to be legally behind the wheel regardless of immigration status. This bill is about keeping families together, keeping our residents engaged in Minnesota, contributing to the economy, aiding public safety, and enabling the ability to participate in everyday activities like taking your kids to soccer practice or simply picking up groceries. By denying the right to a driver's license we're denying families opportunities, endangering public safety, and criminalizing participation in civic life. 

You can watch the press conference or read the bill here.



COVID-19 Testing Remains Critical 

Testing remains a critical part of our strategy combating COVID-19, and there are currently more than 20 testing sites located around the state, all of which offer no-barrier access to testing. Make an appointment here.


We all want things to get back to normal, and getting the vaccine when it’s your turn, along with wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home if you’re sick will all help us close this chapter quicker.

Please continue to contact me anytime at or 651-296-4363 with your input or questions. You’re welcome also to follow me or ‘like’ my official Facebook page for additional updates.

Thank you for the honor of representing our Edina residents and families in the Minnesota House!


Heather Edelson

State Representative