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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jay Xiong (DFL)

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Legislative Update- December 5, 2020

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Rep. Xiong

 

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you and yours well and staying safe.

Here’s news from the State Capitol:

State Economic Outlook

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) announced new economic projections this week that show Minnesota is well positioned to provide immediate economic aid to workers and small businesses. It’s clearer than ever that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the structural inequities of our political and economic systems. Billionaires and corporations are getting richer, but working families are living paycheck to paycheck. We need to do better in Minnesota, which is why House DFLers and the governor proposed a ‘bridge’ economic relief package until we can get more urgently needed federal aid.

Our proposal would:

  • Keep Small Businesses Afloat 
    • Provide direct aid to businesses through Business Assistance Program 
    • Waive State and regulatory fees for bars, restaurants, event centers, craft breweries, and more
    • Establish eviction moratorium so small businesses can stay in their locations
  • Support Workers Struggling to Get By
    • Extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks, helping as many as 100,000 workers whose benefits currently end late December
    • Provide a $500 one-time emergency payment to struggling families
  • Help Minnesota Families Put Food on the Table
    • Establish one-time grant to restaurants to provide food for healthcare workers, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities
    • Provide a tax credit for businesses that donate food that would otherwise spoil or be thrown away 

 

I am cautiously optimistic House and Senate Republicans will join us in passing a robust and comprehensive relief package as soon as possible. The next special session is slated to begin December 14 or earlier if an agreement can be reached.

 

Economic Relief


 

Housing Assistance Available- Apply Today

This week, Governor Walz highlighted efforts to support Minnesotans experiencing homelessness and ensure Minnesotans can afford to stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are encouraging Minnesotans who are behind on their rent, mortgage, or utility payments to apply for the Administration’s Housing Assistance Program by Monday, December 7, 2020.

Additionally, Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program received more than $106 million in federal funding to help income-eligible Minnesotans pay their heating bills this winter. Minnesotans should submit an application to the local service provider in their area. To find your local service provider, call 800-657-3710 or visit the Commerce Department’s Energy Assistance Program webpage.


Fresh Dinner Boxes Available

A big thank you to the Sanneh Foundation, East Side Table and Southeast Community Organization for providing fresh dinner boxes to anyone who identifies as being low income. Each box contains about 10 pounds of fresh produce, meat, pantry staples and recipes for up to 12 people. Distribution will take place on every Wednesday afternoon in December.

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Please wear a mask when picking up. Food is available until it runs out.

 


Unemployment Insurance

Under the federal CARES Act, the federal government authorized (and paid for) 13 additional weeks in benefits for unemployed workers who exhaust their 26 weeks of state benefits. This is slated to expire at the end of the month, which is why it’s so important for us to take action on the state level immediately. Under Minnesota law, high school students, under most circumstances, are not able to receive standard benefits. I continue working to change that with my colleagues at the legislature. Please visit https://www.uimn.org/ to learn more about your options for unemployment insurance.

 


Preventative Action for At-Risk Asian Youth

Currently, there are no funded culturally and linguistically appropriate programs for At-Risk Southeast Asian Youth of recently arrived refugee families in Minnesota. In Saint Paul, many Karen and Karenni youth who are at-risk reside predominately in Frogtown, North End, Payne-Phalen, Dayton’s Bluff, the Greater Eastside and Battle Creek neighborhoods.

Do you have stories to share to help bring awareness to this important issue? Twelve St. Paul community members have teamed up with a variety of community organizations to mobilize and develop a program called AYO Asian Youth Outreach. You can learn more about how to get involved by emailing AYOminnesota@gmail.com.


 

 Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me anytime to let me know how I can provide assistance at rep.jay.xiong@house.mn or at 651-296-4201. I’m grateful for the opportunity to answer questions and be a resource if you need help.

Thank you for honor of serving our Eastside residents and families.

In solidarity,

Jay Xiong

State Representative