The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up the 2020 regular session Sunday at midnight. I have to take a moment to thank everyone, all of you in our communities of district 57B for placing your trust in me over the past two years to lift up your voices at the Capitol. This work is not possible without input from all perspectives and I appreciate that.
Many of the 2020 session’s accomplishments relate to the state’s COVID-19 response. The Legislature delivered funding for public health, resources for health care workers, aid for child care, housing and food security, small business assistance and more. The House and Senate also approved a package of legislation providing flexibility and resources in a variety of areas during the crisis, including approval of wills and marriage licenses, expanded telemedicine, remote local government meetings, and alternative health care facilities. Should a frontline responder to the virus contract COVID-19, legislators also reached a consensus to better ensure these Minnesotans would receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Governor Walz also signed other important measures into law, including the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth tobacco use, and a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections.
Although session has adjourned, the work doesn’t stop. House Speaker Hortman has created a Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding so we can continue working together on the state’s response to the COVID19 pandemic and can assess policy changes needed moving forward. The first meeting, which will cover workplace safety for Minnesota nurses, will be held today at 12:30 p.m. and you can watch it online here.
Jobs and Local Projects
I have received many emails and calls from folks in our community about whether the Minnesota Zoo was included in the Jobs and Local Projects, or ‘bonding’ bill. Our House proposal contained $2.524 billion in renovations, repairs, and replacement of public assets like higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, correctional facilities, roads and bridges, parks and trails, municipal buildings and more. Of that figure, $25 million was slated to go toward revitalization and asset preservation for the Zoo.
This bill required 3/5 super majority to pass- meaning 6 votes were needed from the other side of the aisle- and unfortunately did not receive a single Republican vote. This was very disappointing because our proposal would have invested in local infrastructure improvements spanning across 3,000 miles of the state- while creating thousands of jobs at a time of economic uncertainty. I’ll continue to advocate for a regionally robust jobs and local projects bill.
Governor Adjusts Stay at Home Order
Governor Walz recently announced that the current stay at home order has been adjusted and replaced with an order allowing for more businesses and places in which people congregate to gradually reopen. As the governor continues to turn the dial, it’s imperative for all of us continue following public health guidelines – practicing social distancing of six feet, avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people, washing our hands thoroughly for twenty seconds, and limiting unnecessary travel. More information and resources for businesses can be found here.
Keep in Touch
As I mentioned above, I’m still working for you and our communities. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with input or ideas. I appreciate hearing from you, so always feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 651-296-4306.
For additional updates and oftentimes, breaking news, follow me on my official Facebook page.
Take care and be safe.