Monday, the special legislative session began in St. Paul to finalize our two-year budget and to continue the COVID-19 state of emergency. Negotiators have reached bipartisan agreements on several of the budget bills and we will continue to work on other issues to end the session quickly, funding things Minnesotans care about.
Meanwhile, layoff notices are going out across the state, while the House GOP is using meaningless stall tactics. I will continue to work through the obstruction, get the real work done and keep Minnesota running.
There are several reasons Gov. Walz continues to need the flexibility to respond quickly to COVID-19 emergencies. Some of the reasons I support continuing the governor’s emergency powers:
Vaccine distribution – Under the emergency declaration the Minnesota Department of Health can move vaccines around easier and setup pop-up distribution centers. This means more shots in Minnesotans’ arms.
Eviction Moratorium – There is a bipartisan agreement to prevent tens of thousands of Minnesotans being evicted from their homes without prior notice. Ending the declaration now would undercut the work being done and hurt everyday Minnesotans.
SNAP benefits – The state receives federal dollars for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits every month under the declaration. This program helps Minnesotans put food on the table. Ending the peacetime emergency would stop flow of the federal money, while the need is still urgent in Minnesota.
Masks and partial capacity at businesses were the frustrations I heard from people and why they wanted the declaration over. The mask mandate has been lifted and businesses are now back to full capacity.
As many as nine water-related fatalities have been reported and a higher-than-average number of drownings have occurred in our state. You can read tips from the DNR on how to be safe around the water. Our Legacy Finance bill also includes funding to teach at-risk kids how to swim, a skill that could help save lives throughout Minnesota.
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
The best way to protect everyone from COVID-19 is to get a vaccine. The Minnesota Department of Health reports more than 3 million Minnesotans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Check out Minnesota’s COVID-19 mn.gov/vaccineconnector, or ask your health care provider to help you find a vaccine.
Stay connected with the Legislature
The Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of legislative action with their Session Daily publication. Subscribe here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website.
I welcome your questions and comments anytime. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or can also call my legislative assistant, Joe Lenczewski at 651-296-5486.
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Thank you for the privilege of representing you in the legislature.