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Legislative Update 5/28/2021: End of Session and Memorial Day
Our regular session came to an end last Monday, however our work for the year is far from over and we are headed towards a Legislative Special Session. House and Senate leaders and Governor Walz have reached a budget agreement that we are using as guidelines in our conference committee negotiations. While I had hoped that these negotiations could be done transparently in public, Senate Republicans decided against this, so we are meeting in private. This is a loss for our democratic process, and I will continue to push for us to be more transparent in the future. Details on the overall budget agreement and what the special session will look like can be found here
Direct Scheduling for Vaccinations Now Available
We are making progress, but still have too many Minnesotans who are unvaccinated and unprotected from COVID-19. Minnesotans can now use the Vaccine Connector to directly schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the state's Community Vaccination Program
locations, including children ages 12 and older. You can visit VaccineConnector.mn.gov
to directly schedule appointments at Community Vaccination locations around the state. Here is how you can get your shot:
The Governor just launched a new "Your Shot to Summer"
, offering a list of great incentives to those who get their first COVID-19 shot May 27 - June 30. This is to help us get above the 70% total vaccinations so we can have a safe and open summer. Some of the incentives include:
- Great Lakes Aquarium Pass
- Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe Pass
- Minnesota Fishing License
- Minnesota State Parks Pass
- Minnesota Zoo Admission
- Northwoods Baseball League Tickets
- State Fair Tickets
- Valleyfair Single-Day Admission
Learn more about this great opportunity at mn.gov/covid19/summer
Last week we passed HF 600
, a bill which legalizes and regulates adult-use cannabis in Minnesota, while expunging records of people convicted for nonviolent offenses involving cannabis.
I am proud of the bill we passed. It has come to fruition after years of hard work and careful planning. I know that by ending the prohibition on adult-use cannabis Minnesota will be able to heal the harm caused by prohibition. This bill takes into consideration the injustice caused by prohibition while ensuring that legalization will protect the health and safety of all Minnesotans.
While the Senate GOP is behind the times on full legalization, both chambers passed a bill to allow cannabis flowers in medical cannabis programs. This will decrease the cost of medicinal cannabis in Minnesota while increasing accessibility. I'm happy that we can provide a safe alternative medicine to more Minnesotans. You can learn more about this bill here
Summer Learning Funding
Thanks to the federal funds provided by the Democrats' American Rescue Plan, Minnesota can revitalize our summer learning programs to help our students recover from this difficult past year. Governor Walz will allocate $75 million in education funds this summer as follows:
- Academic and Mental Health Supports ($34.614 million). This will expand mental health and well-being services, mentor programs, social/emotional skill building, and hands-on learning experiences.
- Preschool for 4- and 5-Year-Olds ($20 million). This will provide funds to three or four star rated programs using a formula that emphasizes underserved communities and children facing certain risk factors.
- School-linked Mental Health Grants ($6.011 million). This will provide much needed community mental health services through grants offered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Expanded Access to Tutoring ($3.25 million). These funds will expand access to tutoring services including academic enrichment, mental health supports and other wrap-around services for K-12 children.
- Increased Adult Basic Education Program Funding ($10 million). This will expand the access and quality of our Adult Basic Education programs to ensure that those who desire an education will be able to get one this summer.
- Learning Acceleration and College Readiness Initiatives ($1.125 million). This will fund programs to address educational challenges due to the pandemic which have impacted underserved students disproportionately.
I am proud that our state values education to such a great extent. We need to continue to fully fund our education programs so we can overcome any learning loss due to COVID-19, while building up our students for a brighter future.
Memorial Day Weekend
I hope you and your loved ones are able to have a safe and reflective Memorial Day this year, and take a moment to recognize and honor those who made the greatest sacrifice and gave their lives in service to our country.The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is again partnering with TPT to create a 30-minute Memorial Day program entitled “Reflections: Memorial Day 2021” that will be broadcast across the state on TPT's Minnesota Channel at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 31 and again on Sunday, June 6 at 8 a.m. A link will also be available on their website
to view the program online any time.
Stay in Touch
Please feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 651-296-3533. If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants to receive updates about the Legislature, let them know they can subscribe to my email list here. You can also follow me on Facebook here. It's an honor to represent our community. Please stay in touch.