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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL)

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Legislative Update - August 6, 2021

Friday, August 6, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and enjoying all of the great summer events and activities that our community has to offer. Now that the legislative session is over and we’ve passed a budget for the next two years, I’m taking every opportunity to get outside and connect with folks in Eagan!  

Reyer 8.6.2021 (1)

I had lots of good conversations and food at Market Fest this week. 

Reyer 8.6.2021 (2)

I joined folks at a Somali Independence Day celebration earlier this summer.  

Reyer 8.6.2021 (3)

I recently attended a briefing about a new law that requires the installation of automatic fire sprinklers in public high-rise buildings like the Cedar High Apartments in Minneapolis, where a fire killed 5 people in 2019. The law will help protect both residents and firefighters.  

The National Fire Sprinkler Association conducted a demonstration to show us how the sprinklers would operate during a fire. You can see how effective they were by comparing the rooms with and without sprinklers below.  

Reyer 8.6.2021 (4)

Reyer 8.6.2021 (5)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve kept busy advocating for our community, having conversations with Minnesotans, and preparing for the next legislative session. If you have ideas or feedback you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I always appreciate hearing your thoughts and discussing whatever issues are important to you.  


Addressing the Climate Crisis 

We’ve dealt with difficult weather recently, including several heat waves, a historic drought, and poor air quality due to wildfires in Canada. This isn’t a coincidence; we’re experiencing more severe weather and natural disasters because of climate change, and we need to treat this like the emergency it is.  

Climate change is one of the issues I’ve been engaging with this summer. I recently signed a letter urging the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to suspend drilling along the Line 3 pipeline and to investigate reported releases of drilling fluid. The drought may compromise waterways’, wetlands’, and marshes’ ability to dilute harmful chemicals and excessive sediment, making it even more difficult to clean up spills and releases. We asked the agency to temporarily stop the drilling to conserve water and protect our environment. 

I’m also leading a group of legislators who represent residents in Dakota Electric Association’s service area who are rightfully concerned about Great River Energy’s (GRE) plan to sell and continue operating the Coal Creek Power Plant. Closing the plant, as GRE originally intended, would’ve reduced members’ electricity costs by 13 percent and allowed them to make progress on clean energy. The new plan isn’t good for Minnesotans or our environment. My colleagues and I sent a letter to the board of Dakota Electric prior to the vote on this proposal, and we’ll continue advocating for Minnesotans as the situation develops.  


New Laws Take Effect  

Several new laws took effect recently, including legislation that: 

  • Allows incarcerated Minnesotans who give birth to spend more time with their babies. Under current law, newborns are taken away from their parent after just 48 hours, interrupting critical bonding time and creating unnecessary trauma for both of them. This law permits the Department of Corrections to conditionally release pregnant and postpartum inmates for up to a year.   
  • Requires police chiefs to report all disciplinary actions taken against police officers to the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board. This will help identify patterns of behavior and keep problem officers off the streets.  
  • Requires the POST Board to create a list of approved trainers and courses for police officers responding to individuals with a mental illness or Alzheimer’s disease.  
  • Expands eligibility for housing grants in a natural disaster area to tribes and tribal housing corporations.  
  • Requires the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate criminal sexual conduct cases involving members of the Minnesota National Guard. This law will help individuals who experience sexual assault at the hands of another Guard member to get justice.  

You can view a list of the laws that took effect on August 1 here


COVID-19 Update 

The Delta variant is spreading across the U.S. and here in Minnesota. If you’re eligible to get vaccinated and haven’t yet, now is the time to do so. The vaccine is free and effective, and everybody who gets one helps protect our communities and ensure kids can safely return to school this fall. As an added bonus, Minnesotans who get their first shot between July 30 and August 15 will receive $100. If you’re interested, you can find more information and claim your Visa gift card at mn.gov/covid19/100.  

According to the CDC, more than half of the counties in Minnesota, including Dakota County, are experiencing substantial or high transmission rates. The agency recommends wearing masks in indoor public places in these areas regardless of your vaccination status. You can read more about the updated guidelines here.  


Please feel free to reach out if you have questions, ideas, or feedback, or if I can be of assistance. You can contact me via email at rep.liz.reyer@house.mn or by phone at (651) 296-4128. 

Sincerely,  

Liz Reyer  
State Representative  

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