I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Here’s the latest news from the Capitol:
Last week, the Minnesota House delivered new economic assistance for small businesses and working families. We passed a COVID-19 assistance package that provides $88 million of direct financial aid to businesses experiencing economic harm due to the pandemic. Eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, coffee shops, gyms, and more. The legislation also includes $14 million worth of grants for movie theaters and convention centers. Another $114.5 million will be distributed among Minnesota counties to provide grants to other affected businesses.
In addition, we took steps to protect Minnesotans’ economic security. The legislation we passed extended unemployment insurance for more than 100,000 workers who were on track to lose their benefits this Saturday, when funding from the federal CARES Act expires. Congress recently agreed to extend these benefits, which means the federal government will provide the funding.
Governor Walz recently unveiled a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which aims to quickly, equitably, and safely deliver a free vaccine to every Minnesotan who wants on. In order to make the most of the initial limited supply, the vaccine will be distributed in phases. Health care workers and long-term care residents will be the first to receive it, followed by essential workers, seniors, and those who are more likely to become seriously ill if they contract the virus.
While the arrival of a vaccine is great news, it will take a few months until it’s available to everyone. In the meantime, it’s important to continue doing all we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting tested if feeling sick.
COVIDaware MN is a mobile app that can alert you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s contracted the virus, even if it’s someone you don’t know. The app is free, voluntary, and anonymous, and more than 230,000 Minnesotans have downloaded it. You can download it and find more information here.
It’s incumbent upon us to protect the health of Minnesotans and to fight the continued trauma inflicted on our earth. On Monday, I visited Palisade, Minnesota to view the site where the Line 3 pipeline would be built and to discuss concerns regarding worker safety, community impacts, cultural stewardship, and environmental protection. It was an honor to stand with water protestors, and I hope to continue having these conversations during the upcoming legislative session.
I was recently elected to serve as Majority Whip when the 2021 legislative session begins on January 5. In this position, I’ll be working with colleagues to advance the House DFL’s agenda and to ensure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to thrive, no matter where they live or what they look like. I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve in this new capacity and look forward to getting to work!
While the holidays will look and feel different this year, I hope you and your family have a joyful and healthy season. Please stay safe and well.
I always appreciate hearing from you, so please feel free to share your questions, ideas, and feedback. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-8799.
Rep. Kaohly Her