This will be my last email update until after the 2022 election. During an election period, legislators cannot use state resources for unsolicited communications because it might create an unfair advantage. However, I will still be available to help with any state-level problems and to discuss important issues in our community, so please reach out if I can assist in any way.
For now, I wanted to leave you with an update on important resources and upcoming deadlines:
Deadline for Frontline Worker Bonuses
One of the more significant accomplishments from this session was the investment of $500 million in bonuses for the frontline workers who kept our state running during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more are eligible for this bonus. This Friday, July 22 is the deadline to submit an application.
Learn more and apply at frontlinepay.mn.gov.
With the uptick of the new COVID-19 variants, I wanted to share that free at-home COVID-19 tests are available to order here. More COVID-19 updates are available through the Minnesota Department of Health website, or the U of M Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). Even with vaccinations readily available, testing remains an important step to slowing the spread and keeping others safe.
Also, more than 300 providers in Minnesota are offering vaccines to children between six months and five years of age, including pediatricians, pharmacies, community clinics, and more. Parents and guardians can use the Vaccine Locator Map to find providers in their area. More information about COVID vaccines for children is available at mn.gov/vaxforkids.
Last week, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched. The hotline, transitioning from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with a shorter, easier-to-remember number, will connect people in crisis with trained counselors. Federal funding is supporting the new service, which will close a significant gap in mental health services. Traditional responses to 911 calls, such as law enforcement, aren’t uniquely equipped to respond to mental health crises.
Crisis workers are available at the three-digit number 24/7 and can connect callers to additional support or in-person care. The service is free and confidential.
Bonuses for Veterans
As a member of the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee, I’m extremely proud of the bipartisan Veterans and Military Affairs bill we passed this year. Included in the bill are bonuses for those who courageously served our nation, recognizing post-9/11-era veterans and Gold Star Families with service bonuses of up to $2,000.
There are approximately 48,000 eligible veterans, over half of whom deployed to combat operations including those in Afghanistan or Iraq. Minnesota has a long history of awarding these service bonuses to veterans who served in America’s wars. Starting in 1919 after World War I, through World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and now the Global War on Terrorism.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is facilitating the program. The application is now open. You can learn more here.
If you have any questions about the resources in this update or our work in the Minnesota House, please feel free to reach out. You can reach me through email (email@example.com) or phone (651-296-3751). It’s an honor to serve our community in the Minnesota House, and I appreciate hearing from you!
Rep. Michael V. Nelson