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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sandra Feist (DFL)

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Legislative Update: October 26, 2021

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

I hope you’re enjoying the crisp autumnal weather and the oranges and yellows of the turning leaves. This time of year, I am always grateful to be in Minnesota, where the change of seasons feels like a new beginning and an opportunity to reflect. Since the legislative session ended this summer, I’ve been working on legislation to enhance the lives of our community on many fronts. These bills will focus on a variety of measures to enhance targeted funding for students in need, protect student data privacy, improve our system of juvenile justice, and improve access to college. 

In addition to planning ahead for the session, I’ve also found time to carve pumpkins with my kids and enjoy my favorite time of year!

Feist 10.26.2021

Advocating for Immigrants 

Recently, I was able to combine my role as a legislator with my expertise as an immigration lawyer. I coordinated with other members of the Minnesota Legislature to issue a jointly signed letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in response to the agency’s request for public input on a proposed new “public charge rule.” This rule governs the procedures for denying green cards to immigrants based on loose notions of poverty. A poorly-constructed rule denies eligible immigrants and family members public assistance that they need and are entitled to. 

During the Trump administration, this rule was used to reduce the number of people who were deemed eligible for green cards and other visas. The Biden administration wants to develop a clearer and fairer policy with input from the public. I am hopeful that the letter from me and many of my colleagues in the Minnesota Legislature will help the agency draft a more thoughtful and humane public charge rule.

Strengthening Student Data Privacy

I recently presented the Student Data Privacy Act to the bipartisan, bicameral Commission on Data Practices with the support of numerous stakeholders and both Republican and DFL legislators. I am thrilled that my bill is advancing. It will a) ensure external technology providers keep our kids’ data safe, b) prevent unnecessary and intrusive remote monitoring of students, and c) limit the methods by which private technology providers profit off of our students’ data. This bill will bring our student data privacy laws from the 70’s when they were drafted into the 21st century.

Booster Shots Now Available  

In accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), booster shots are now available to eligible Minnesotans. You’re eligible for a booster shot if you received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago and: 

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and are 18 years old or older, the CDC recommends getting a booster shot at least two months after your initial vaccine.

Booster Shots

Officials have authorized “mixing and matching” vaccine boosters, so people who are eligible for a booster shot can get any of the three approved vaccines, no matter which they received for their primary series. If you have questions about mixing and matching doses, please contact your health care provider. 

If you’re eligible, there are plenty of ways to get a booster shot. Free vaccines are available at many sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, and community clinics. You can use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a provider near you.

Energy Assistance Available  

As it continues getting colder, I want to remind you about a few programs that can help people stay safe and warm in their homes. The Energy Assistance Program (EAP), for example, helps Minnesotans pay for heat, water, and furnace repairs. The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently expanded the program, making more than 600,000 households eligible for aid. 

People who qualify for energy assistance may be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program as well. It provides free energy upgrades to help Minnesotans save money and ensure their home is safe. 

The Cold Weather Rule, which took effect earlier this month, helps ensure Minnesotans have heat during the coldest months of the year. People who can’t pay their heating bill in full can set up a payment plan with their utility, and if it’s followed, electric and natural gas companies can’t disconnect service. The rule will remain in force until April 30.

Minnesota Values Project Survey 

As we prepare for the 2022 legislative session and beyond, my colleagues and I are seeking input from Minnesotans. We want to hear about what’s going well for you and your family, your hopes for the future, and any roadblocks you’ve experienced. These stories will help us advocate for you at the Capitol. 

If you’re willing to share, please take this short Minnesota Values Project survey. It only has four questions, and the feedback you provide will help guide us next year. Thank you for your participation!

MVP Survey A

If you have any questions about my work in the Minnesota House or the resources available to our community, please feel free to email me at or call (651) 296-4331. I appreciate hearing from you! 

In solidarity,  

Sandra Feist  
State Representative 

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