Saturday, February 06, 2021
I hope this finds you well- and staying warm!
With the temperature dropping below zero this weekend, I wanted to bring up Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program, which helped nearly 118,000 Minnesota households pay their heating bills last year. Households with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, seniors and those experiencing unemployment or financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are especially encouraged to apply. Both renters and homeowners can qualify to get energy assistance.
New applicants have until May 31, 2021 to apply, however funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Households can apply for assistance with the local service provider in their area. Call 800-657-3710, and press 1, or visit the Commerce Department’s Energy Assistance Program webpage.
Here are flyers in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong:
MN Energy Assistance Flyer - English
MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Spanish
MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Somali
MN Energy Assistance Flyer - Hmong
This week, I met with a group of physicians who expressed their concerns around what they’ve been seeing with the ongoing pandemic. They shared with me general concerns for their patients who are lacking access to various, vital resources: basic insurance coverage; technology and internet; adequate transportation; and translation services. With this in mind, they expressed urgency in a more equitable approach with the COVID-19 vaccine administration. I have also heard similar concerns from many Eastsiders about lack of access to the vaccine.
My DFL POCI Caucus members have requested a meeting with Minnesota Commissioner of Health to see how we can work together and get those efforts underway for everyone in our communities.
Here’s an update from the Capitol:
Earned Sick and Safe Time for Minnesota Workers IntroducedAs we’ve learned from COVID-19, when people get sick, they should be able to stay home not just for their own health or that of a loved one, but for the health of everyone around them. This week in the House Labor Committee, a bill was presented to ensure Minnesota workers have access to Earned Sick and Safe Time. The legislation would ensure, at a minimum, one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours per year.
Minnesotans care about another, and we want to live in a state where our families can be healthy and safe. By securing the ability to stay home when you’re sick – without foregoing your paycheck – we can get through this pandemic as a stronger, healthier state.
Measure to Exclude White Supremacists from Police Ranks Advances in HouseThis week, the House Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Finance & Policy Committee advanced legislation that would require the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board to revise the standards of conduct for peace officers prohibit officers from affiliating with,? supporting, or advocating for white supremacist groups, causes, or ideologies.? This is a necessary step forward to prevent “bad apples” from serving alongside officers who are protecting everyone in our communities, including our BIPOC neighbors on the Eastside.
Legislation AuthoredI’m thrilled to author legislation that was introduced this week to help Eastsiders and Minnesotans during these economically challenging times:
HF 656: Dedicates state investments to Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio-Latino Communities United in Service (CLUES). CLUES is Minnesota’s largest Latino-led nonprofit organization, dedicated to ensuring the advancement of social and economic equity and wellbeing for Latinos in Minnesota. CLUES has offices on the East Side of St. Paul, Lake Street in Minneapolis, and also Willmar and Austin in rural Minnesota.
HF 655: Dedicates grant funding to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Minnesota, the organization committed to creating and supporting mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
Tax Write-offs for Minnesota TeachersThe IRS recently announced that teachers who purchased COVID-19 protective equipment last year can write them off on their 2020 taxes.
COVID-19 protective items include, but are not limited to:
Keep in TouchPlease continue to reach out anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4201. Your feedback is important and helps me elevate our Eastside voices at the Capitol.
Have a safe weekend.