Our work in the Minnesota House continues, as we quickly approach our adjournment date of May 18. Today, the House will meet in session at 1:30 and is expected to pass strong public health initiatives, in addition to a significant investment to help our struggling low-income working families get ahead during the pandemic.
Below is an overview of what we’ve accomplished this week, including news of the Governor’s latest executive actions.
Yesterday, I voted for the COVID-19 Economic Security Act, a package of legislation that would help Minnesotans keep a roof over their heads, preserve their small businesses, access broadband, and care for vulnerable people during the pandemic.
The bill includes aid for Minnesotans who are struggling to make rent and mortgage payments through no fault of their own. It provides emergency loans to help small businesses across the state operating, including many of the mom and pop minority-owned businesses in our community, and funding to expand broadband access for distance learning and telemedicine. It also includes a temporary wage increase for personal care assistants. You can read more about the COVID-19 Economic Security Act here.
Guaranteeing Pay for Hourly School WorkersMany hourly school workers are facing financial uncertainty because of the transition to distance learning. On Monday, we passed legislation to ensure paraprofessionals, nutrition services staff, bus drivers, and other hourly school employees get paid through the end of the school year. These workers are still providing valuable services and support to our students, and they deserve to be compensated for their work. More information about this bill is available here.
Ensuring Safe and Secure ElectionsWe also passed a bipartisan bill to protect the health and safety of election officials and voters during this year’s elections. The bill allows our state to use federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to prepare for increased absentee voting, open new polling locations, purchase sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and provide public outreach. HAVA funds will also be used to protect our election system from hackers and foreign interference. You can find more information about the bill here.
Elective Surgeries to Resume Next WeekGovernor Walz announced this week continued efforts to “turn the dials” a bit by allowing elective surgeries to resume during the peacetime emergency. Developing capacity within our health care system is one of the biggest goals of the stay at home guidelines, and this step indicates we’re making needed progress. Medical facilities will need a plan to keep doctors, nurses, staff, patients and visitors safe. I’m glad the governor took this step which will allow more Minnesotans to get the care they need during the pandemic. You can read the governor’s executive order here.
Long-Term Care Strategy for our EldersOur nursing homes and other congregate care settings have been among those impacted the worst by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone living and working in these facilities deserves to be safe and healthy, and they deserve to know we support them in our efforts to keep the virus at bay.
Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Jan Malcolm released a new five-point plan to provide more robust support to our state’s long-term care facilities. The plan’s five points are: expanded testing for residents and workers; providing testing support and troubleshooting; getting needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to facilities; ensuring adequate staffing levels, and leveraging partnerships with local public health officials.
People of Color and Indigenous Caucus (POCI) Virtual Town Hall MeetingPOCI community members are invited to participate in a town hall this Sunday evening via Facebook. Questions or comments, please share on the page or e-mail your House POCI legislator. The Minnesota House DFL People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus includes Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Aisha Gomez (62B), Hodan Hassan (62A), Kaohly Her (64A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Fue Lee (59A), Alice Mann (56B), Carlos Mariani (65B), Rena Moran (65A), Mohamud Noor (60B), Ruth Richardson (52B), Samantha Vang (40B), Jay Xiong (67B), and Tou Xiong (53B).
Youth Organizers from Southeast St. Paul CommunityI had a great conversation with youth organizers on Tuesday! I want to thank our Eastside young men and women from our Southeast Community Organization (District 1) for sharing with me their stories -- struggles with distant learning and the great work they are doing in East St. Paul. They give me so much hope and inspiration!
Keep in TouchPlease contact me anytime with questions, ideas, or input. Your feedback is valued and appreciated, as it helps shape my work for our eastside community at the Capitol.
I’m always happy to see how I can be of assistance.