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

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Legislative Update - September 15, 2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

It’s hard to believe fall is already upon us and students in our community are back in the classroom. I want to wish all our students, teachers, school staff, and their families a safe and successful school year! 

Districts 191, 196, and 197 are all requiring students, staff members, and visitors to wear masks in school buildings and on school buses. To ensure students can safely continue in-person learning, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends all people 12 and older get vaccinated for COVID-19, wear masks indoors, get tested regularly, and maintain at least three feet of distance from others when possible. You can view a list of their recommendations here

I have a few hot updates from the Capitol and wrap up this newsletter with some quick peeks at community events I’ve attended lately.  

 

News from the Capitol

Redistricting Process Begins

The legislature recently began redistricting, an important process states go through every 10 years after the U.S. Census is conducted. Legislators use Census data to draw new political maps that reflect how a state’s population has changed over the past decade. In Minnesota, this means redrawing eight congressional districts, 67 state senate districts, and 134 state house districts. At the end of the redistricting process, each district must contain approximately the same number of residents as others of its kind. The updated maps should also reflect our state’s geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity.  

The bipartisan House Redistricting Committee is providing opportunities for residents of each of Minnesota’s congressional districts to weigh in on their work. Minnesotans from the 2nd Congressional District shared input at a hearing this morning. I appreciated the chance to get more feedback on this important issue.  

Redistricting Hearings

Frontline Worker Pay Group Continues Working

Frontline workers have risked their own health to keep the rest of us safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve our gratitude and support. Legislators secured $250 million to support essential workers this session, and a bipartisan group is working to determine who will receive the funds and how they’ll be allocated. While the group hasn’t reached agreement yet, my colleagues and I remain committed to compensating Minnesotans for their hard work during the pandemic. 

Minnesota Department of Revenue Starts Processing Refunds

More than 540,000 Minnesotans are eligible for refunds thanks to the tax cuts legislators passed earlier this year. In late June, we approved tax cuts for people who received unemployment insurance benefits and federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Since most people had already submitted their individual income tax returns, the Minnesota Department of Revenue developed a system to adjust impacted returns on their end. Most taxpayers won’t need to file amended returns, and the new system will help the agency deliver refunds as quickly as possible.   

The Department of Revenue began adjusting returns and delivering refunds on Monday. They plan to process about 1,000 returns per week at first and build up to 50,000 per week by late October. You can find more information here.   

 

Community Events 

In just the past week, I attended several events related to environmental and social justice issues. Have a look!  

Reyer 9.15.2021

I had the opportunity to visit The Open Door Pantry last week. This organization operates a pantry in Eagan, a mobile pantry that travels to neighborhoods throughout Dakota County, a program that provides free lunches to children during the summer, and several community gardens. Through these programs, The Open Door provides fresh and healthy food to about 14,000 people a month.  

The Open Door is a great resource for people to get help and to give help. To learn more about their work and how you can support it, please visit theopendoorpantry.org

Reyer 9.15.2021 (2)

I joined some of my colleagues and leaders of Makoce Ikikcupi for a feast on Saturday. We gathered to mark the passage of legislation that modifies Minnesota’s building and fire codes so Indigenous people can revive traditional building practices. This means Makoce Ikikcupi members will be able to continue building earthlodges on Dakota land in Granite Falls.  

Reyer 9.15.2021 (3)

On Sunday, I attended a tree planting event at Northview Park. We planted a total of eight trees, which were purchased with funding from the Dakota Electric Association, on land provided by the City of Eagan. These trees will help absorb and store carbon, aiding our fight against climate change. While this was a small-scale initiative, it served as a test of the idea so it can be rolled out to more communities.  

Reyer 9.15.2021 (4)

On Monday, I joined fellow legislators, advocates, and pro-choice Minnesotans to protest assaults on our reproductive freedom. We must stand together to protect abortion access in Minnesota and reject dangerous laws like the extreme abortion ban that took effect in Texas three weeks ago.  

 

I appreciate hearing from community members, so please feel free to share your questions, ideas, and feedback. You can reach me by email at rep.liz.reyer@house.mn or by phone at (651) 296-4128. 

Sincerely,  

Liz Reyer  
State Representative  

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