Friday, November 20, 2020
I hope you’re staying well and safe.
With COVID-19 cases spiking, hospitals full, healthcare worker shortages rampant, and Minnesota’s death toll passed 3,000, it’s essential we take united action together on combatting the spread. In response, Governor Walz is asking Minnesotans to hit pause on social activities, in-person gatherings, sports, and gyms- where we are seeing the largest rate of transmission- for four weeks.
Earlier this year, Congress approved the CARES Act to provide needed economic relief to Minnesotans. These dollars are being used to provide housing assistance to renters and homeowners, financial relief to child care providers and small businesses, as well as to purchase critical medical supplies and PPE for our front-line workers. The need for an additional robust pandemic response in Minnesota will continue well into 2021. I’ve joined my colleagues and the governor in urging quick approval of a new federal COVID relief package so that we can continue our efforts in Minnesota to combat the virus and help weather these economic storms.
Additional Resources for Eastsiders
Up to $5000 from East Side Funders Group Small Business Covid-19 Relief Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide COVID-19 relief grants to small businesses on the East Side of Saint Paul that have BIPOC ownership or a majority of BIPOC employees. See details and registration here.
Public Health Grant Program for Disability Services Providers created to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to people with disabilities and staff who support them. See details here.
UPDATED COVID-19 Waiver to Extend Eligibility for Refugee Cash Assistance. Details found here.
Landlord Assistance: Landlords may be eligible to receive a one-time grant for up to $20,000 per rental unit for tenants missed payment. To learn more about it, please visit here.
Safe at the Winter Farmers' Market Cost-Share Program provides financial assistance to Minnesota farmers’ markets operating in the winter months to purchase supplies to keep markets, vendors, and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. See details here.
Youth and Young Adult Employment Community Conversation hosted by Ramsey County is an online community conversation about youth and young adult employment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Find details here.
Think Small has COVID-19 Resources and Information for Child Care Providers and Parents that can be found here. Information includes assistance with housing, schooling etc.
Under the Emergency Solutions Grant-COVID (ESG-CV) funds, Ramsey County, through Heading Home Ramsey (HHR), is soliciting Letters of Interest (LOI) from providers who have experience in providing street outreach and/or rapid rehousing services to households experiencing homelessness in Ramsey County. More information on the website here and read the detailed Notice here.
Thanksgiving Food Distribution for everyone through the Union Gospel. Registration and details can be found here.
Ramsey County has a community resource page here that includes information about food, employment, technology and more.
Free home meal delivery available for people impacted by COVID-19. If you are a Ramsey County resident and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to have up to 21 prepared meals delivered to your home for free each week. Details can be found here.
Stay in TouchPromising news about an effective vaccine is encouraging, but public health experts and vaccine producers are telling us that widespread distribution will not happen until well into 2021. In the meantime, we should follow public health guidelines to protect one another: staying home when we can; wearing a mask; washing our hands frequently; distancing socially; and getting tested.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime if you need help or have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4201.
It’s an honor to serve you and our Eastside community at the State Capitol. My best wishes for a holiday filled with health and happiness.
New Executive Action on COVID-19
Friday, November 13, 2020
I hope this finds you and yours staying well and warm. I’d like to extend a big thank you for allowing me to continue my work for the Eastside in the Minnesota House of Representatives for another two-year term. It’s an incredible honor to serve our neighborhoods at the State Capitol, and I’ll continue to fight for you and work with you to help us get through these challenging times.
Here’s an update from the Capitol:
New Executive Action on COVID-19Though the promising news of a viable vaccine gives us hope, we are currently facing critical care bed and health care worker shortages as Minnesota continues to see a surge in positive cases. This week Governor Walz announced new safety restrictions on bars, restaurants, and social gatherings.
Bars and restaurants will have new capacity regulations, as well as a curfew starting today, and there will be a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor social gatherings. For larger events, such as weddings and funerals, there is a 50-person limit starting on November 27, and a 25-person limit starting December 11. These new restrictions are far from ideal, especially for our local businesses that have been struggling since the onset of COVID-19 and the civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd. These measures will help to ensure Minnesotans remain safe and healthy. It’s critical that we all do our part to follow public health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks in all indoor public settings and getting tested when sick.
Additional locations and different forms of COVID testing, like saliva testing, are now available in Minnesota. In Saint Paul, there’s free saliva testing site at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, adjacent to Saint Paul RiverCentre. Due to expected demand, testing will be available seven days a week, noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Appointments can be made through the Vault Health registration site.
Largest Bonding Bill in State History Signed into LawLast month, the Minnesota Legislature passed a robust and bipartisan Jobs & Local Projects and Critical Economic Development bill with investments in infrastructure and economic stimulus to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other items, the legislation contains $1.879 billion toward public assets such as higher education institutions, clean water infrastructure, transportation, parks, trails, and funding for underserved communities.
I had the opportunity to work with House Capital Investment Vice-Chair Fue Lee to secure $30 million in the package dedicated to equity, which includes funding for projects important to people of color and Indigenous communities. Of note, the Hmong American Farmers’ Association will receive $ 2 million in equity bond funding for the first time. The bill also contains a new policy requiring diversity hiring goals and equal pay for state bond-funded projects.
I’m also pleased to announce we were able to finally secure funding to fix the Kellogg Street Bridge! The Wakan Tipi Center and Metro State University also received dedicated bond funding. Elsewhere in St. Paul, the bill funds the Como Park Zoo, the Humanities Center, the Playwrights’ Center, Victoria Theatre, the Hmong Plaza, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
We also secured $116 million in bonding for public housing rehabilitation and new housing infrastructure. A full list of projects included in the bill can be accessed here.
Special Sessions ContinueSince we adjourned the regular session at the end of May, the Minnesota Legislature has consistently met every thirty days to renew the Governor’s emergency peacetime orders. The peacetime state of emergency has allowed Governor Walz to open the state’s toolbox and take quick, decisive action to protect Minnesotans through the COVID-19 pandemic.
An extension will ensure that Minnesotans continue to receive much-needed support and relief as the situation continues to change. It’s deeply disappointing Republicans are willing to risk Minnesotans’ lives in order to “get back to normal.” While the pandemic has demanded sacrifices from all of us and people all over the world, it won’t go away just because we’d like it to. We need to be listening to public health experts, like my legislative colleague who is also a frontline doctor fighting the virus. She spoke yesterday about her firsthand experience in the ER and you can listen here.
Stay in TouchWith the election over, I can now return to regularly sending out these legislative updates, which you can subscribe to here is you haven’t already. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at rep.jay,email@example.com or give my office a call at (651) 296-4201. I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance anytime I can.
Please stay safe.