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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL)

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Legislative Update: April 6, 2021

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

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Dear Neighbors, 

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! I hope everyone had the privilege to relax and enjoy some family time this past weekend. As I am sure you know by now, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan recently announced the expansion of vaccine eligibility for people 16 years of age and older whick started on March 30th. The announcement is in response to the increased supply of vaccines by the federal government to arrive this month.

In the past months, Minnesota has proven to be a national leader in getting shots into arms, and will now be able to step into the final stage of distribution. Minnesota was recently ranked number one in the country for the percentage of vaccine doses administered to Minnesotans. You can check out this article by the Star Tribune. 

Additionally, we are entering the final stretch of session, and as we begin to make important decisions, I'd like to hear from you. If you have not already one so, please fill out my legislative survey to let me know how you feel about these important issues. Thanks in advance for your input!

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Healthcare: Our Health MN Panel

Last week, I joined in on an Our Health MN panel—a series of conversations with lawmakers, city and county officials, community leaders, and YOU about what a healthcare system that works for all of us looks like.

We were joined by the following legislators to talk about healthcare for Minnesota:

Representative Cedrick Frazier 

Senator Jen McEwen

Senator Erin Murphy

If you missed the live stream, don't worry! You can watch a recorded version of the event through this link on Facebook.

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Protecting Workers Through Legislation

Helping Hospitality and Service Sector Workers Return to their Jobs

Before Spring break, the Minnesota House of Representatives advanced legislation to help laid-off hospitality and service sector workers return to their jobs. 

This bill applies to Minnesotans employed by hotels, airports, and event centers; the facilities attached to them, including restaurants, bars, and retail; as well as related services, including maintenance, security, ticketing, ground-handling, and food and beverage services. It also applies to an enterprise providing maintenance and security services to office, retail, or commercial buildings, like a staffing agency.

To be eligible for rehire and retention benefits, Minnesotans need to have worked for their employer for at least six months in the year prior to January 31, 2020, and become unemployed after January 31, 2020, due to the pandemic. Employers would be required to provide eligible workers with information about available job positions for which they qualify, and to rehire employees based on a preference system of qualifications and seniority.

Displaced hospitality workers deserve our full support now more than ever. Today’s vote further demonstrates our promise to provide a safety net for workers, majority of which are Black and Latinx, who are suffering the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have full confidence and trust that Minnesota will emerge stronger than before, and build back our community with a flourishing economy.

Earned Sick and Safe Time for Minnesota Workers

Another bill we advanced recently, ensures that Minnesotans aren’t forced to choose between a paycheck and taking care of themselves or a loved one. Under this legislation, workers would earn at least one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. Workers can use this time to stay home when they’re sick, to take care of a family member, or for an absence related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Preventing Wage Discrimination

The Minneosta House also advanced the Preventing Discrimination Act, a bill that halts discrimination and brings us one step closer to closing the pay gap.

House File 403 addresses a systemic issue of pay disparities. COVID-19 has demonstrated that we all benefit when workers have the ability to stay home without missing their paycheck. This bill would make our workplaces, schools, and communities safer, and I am proud to support it in the House.

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Summer Learning Package Advances 

Students, parents, and families are suffering the consequences of this pandemic more than many others, both academically and emotionally. Recently, the Minnesota House passed a robust summer learning package to help address learning loss through hands-on tutoring and programming, ensure our students have an opportunity to get caught up, and provide critical mental health support to those who need it. I voted in support of the bill and am looking forward to seeing it help our kids succeed.

Summer Learning Package

Get Involved and Stay In Touch

Public hearings are a great opportunity to learn and participate in the legislative process. All of them are live streamed on one of the House webcast channels, and you can view the agenda and materials that legislators receive on each committee’s webpage. If you can’t catch a hearing live, they’re usually uploaded to House Public Information Service’s YouTube channel later that day. I encourage you to check out the hearing schedule and get involved!  

For any questions you have on the resources available to our community or our work in the Minnesota House, please feel free to contact my legislative assistant Sonia Romero at sonia.romero@house.mn or 651-296-4307. 

In Solidarity, 

 

Athena Hollins

Minnesota State Representative (House District 66B)