Saturday, May 23, 2020
As the vice chair of the Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Division, and with the upcoming holiday on Monday, I’d like to pause to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring a Virtual Memorial Day Program over the weekend. TPT has created a 30-minute Memorial Day program entitled “Always Remember: A Minnesota Tribute to Veterans We’ve Lost,” that will be broadcast across the state on TPT’s Minnesota Channel on Monday at 7:30 p.m. and live streamed on TPT’s website. I hope you have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, and please take some time to remember our fallen soldiers.
Session has AdjournedThe legislature wrapped up its business at midnight on Sunday with passing a flurry of consensus legislation related to education and healthcare policy.
As I reflect on the 2020 session, overall, I am proud of the bipartisan nature in which we could deliver emergency relief to Minnesotans amid a global pandemic. Republicans and Democrats came together quickly to enact new measures to help us all adapt to this new, but temporary normal by passing emergency funding for public health, resources for health care workers, aid for child care, housing and food security measures, small business assistance and more. We also enacted into law significant non-COVID-19 legislation such as the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, Tobacco 21 legislation to prevent youth smoking, and a bipartisan bill to protect the safety and security of elections.
Unfortunately, Republicans blocked significant priorities important to Minnesotans and our eastside neighborhoods, including our Jobs and Local Projects Plan – which contained $55 million in critical funding to restore the crumbling Kellogg 3rd Street Bridge, a measure to ensure hourly school employees receive compensation, housing assistance that’s sorely needed for renters and homeowners, more relief for small and minority-owned businesses, and a wage increase for personal care attendants. All Minnesotans deserve economic security, and House DFLers and I remain committed to ensuring everyone can succeed and thrive, during this pandemic and beyond. I am hopeful we can resolve this unfinished work in the coming weeks and months, should we meet for a June special session.
News from the St. Paul Port AuthorityThe St. Paul Port Authority has been selected as an approved lender for Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) guaranteed loan program and have committed $1 million in funds to provide small business loans to St. Paul businesses impacted by COVID 19. A quick snapshot of the loan parameters are as follows:
News from the GovernorOn Monday, more COVID-19 restrictions were loosened as the new Stay Safe Minnesota executive order took effect, allowing many retail stores and main street businesses to open with a safety plan and limited capacity. Businesses must follow CDC and OSHA guidance. More information about these requirements is available here.
Bars and restaurants can open with limited capacity for patio and outdoor seating on June 1. Salons and other personal care businesses are also being allowed to reopen, but with new procedures. You can read more about the guidelines here.
COVID-19 remains a public health threat, and we all have a part to play in stopping the spread of the virus. Despite the governor’s new orders, we should all continue to take safety precautions like social distancing, wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying home when sick. Additionally, people who may be vulnerable – like those with compromised immune systems – should continue to stay home. Read more about the Stay Safe MN plan here.
A Note of Farewell to our Eastside District Neighbor, Tim MahoneyAs you may know, Representative Tim Mahoney, with whom I share our district, is retiring from the Minnesota House of Representatives. Tim has been a fierce and tireless advocate for working class Minnesotans and always fights to address our eastside needs. He will be sorely missed in the Legislature. You can watch his retirement speech here.
Keep in TouchPlease continue to reach out with ideas, questions, and input anytime. I appreciate hearing from you.
Wishing you a safe and relaxing holiday weekend.