I hope this newsletter finds you and yours staying well and warm. With the subzero forecast sticking around for the next few days, I want to share information about Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program. Help is available with utility bills, to repair or replace homeowners’ malfunctioning furnaces, and to purchase fuel for delivery in emergencies. Homeowners and renters with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, seniors and those experiencing unemployment or financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are especially encouraged to apply.
Last year, this assistance program helped nearly 118,000 Minnesota households. New applicants have until May 31, 2021 to apply, however funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, the state’s Cold Weather Rule is in effect until April 15 which prevents utility shut-offs if you sign up for a payment plan with your energy provider. More information on these protections is available from the Public Utilities Commission.
Here’s an update from the Capitol:
Protecting our Hometown Heroes
We all know about the dangerous situations firefighters encounter when they answer the call to action, but their risk of harm isn’t limited to emergency scenes. Firefighters also face alarmingly high incidence of cancer, cardiac issues, and emotional trauma. I’m a co-author of the Hometown Heroes Act, a bill to help our frontline workers address the impacts from these problems, which are only made worse by COVID-19. It establishes “Critical Care” grants for Minnesota firefighters diagnosed with cancer or cardiac issues, as well as an Employee Assistance Program to help firefighters with the emotional trauma issues unique to their occupation. I’m proud to support this effort that we announced at our press conference last week, which Kare 11 highlighted.
Appointment to the EMSRB
I’m pleased to share that House Speaker Hortman has appointed me to serve on the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board. Now more than ever, Minnesotans need dependable emergency services when a health crisis arises. The ongoing pandemic has presented many challenges for the EMS community and I look forward to working with fellow board members and the public to ensure our first responders are supported, and Minnesotans are getting the reliable emergency medical services they need. You can read the official press release here.