I hope this finds you well on this snowy December day.
This week’s wind and chilly weather is a reminder that winter is upon us, and nobody deserves to be left out in the cold. On October 1, Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR) took effect. This is two weeks earlier than prior years due to a new law the legislature passed last session. The CWR protects people from electricity and natural gas shutoffs during the coldest period of the year. If you’re behind on energy bills, the CWR allows you to enter a payment plan with your natural gas or electric provider. Check out the Public Utilities Commission website for more information.
Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program helps families pay for current and past-due bills for electricity, gas, oil, biofuel and propane, emergency fuel delivery, and repair/replacement of homeowners’ broken heating systems. Starting this year, the program has been expanded to include water and sewer bills. Over $130 million in federal funding has been made available for this program with over 600,000 households eligible. More information is available from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
President Biden Visits Rosemount
Last week, President Biden toured the Heavy Duty Truck Technology area at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount to talk about the bipartisan infrastructure bill that he signed into law and to learn more about how the program contributes to infrastructure development. After that, he delivered remarks about the bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Star Tribune covered his visit and you can read more here.
The Omicron variant has been detected in Minnesota and it’s imperative we work together to slow the spread to help preserve our hospital capacity for others who need care. Our state was already facing health care worker shortages prior to the pandemic, and health professionals are asking for our help.
Scientists have been working hard to find the variant and learn more about the rates of transmission. With much uncertainty around this new mutation of the virus, and the urgent need to preserve hospital space and staff, we must double down on our efforts to protect one another. Staying home when we don’t feel well, wearing a mask, maintaining a safe distance in busy settings (especially if we’re doing holiday shopping), washing our hands frequently, getting tested and vaccinated are all strategies we can use to help keep each other safe. The CDC has recently approved recommendations for everyone 18 and older to get a booster shot. You can find a location near you here.
Community Coffee Hour-December 18
Save the date! My next community coffee hour will be on Saturday, December 18 at 9:00 a.m. on Zoom. Please RSVP with my legislative assistant, Isabel, at Isabel.email@example.com to receive the information to join. I’m looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind, and how you think we should best utilize/leverage Minnesota’s projected positive state budget balance.
Minnesota’s Positive Budget Forecast
Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) released their budget forecast yesterday, showing a projected positive fund balance. It’s important to keep in mind that a significant portion of this surplus is one-time money and with future economic uncertainty as the pandemic continues, we must be cautious and thoughtful with the investments we can make. That doesn’t mean we can’t make a positive difference in people’s lives. Supporting workers, families, and small businesses — especially those most impacted by COVID-19 — is the right thing to do. You can read more about our budget forecast here.
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-5506 with input, ideas, or questions. You’re also invited to follow me on my Facebook page for more community and Capitol updates.
Thank you for the honor of representing you at the State Capitol.