I hope you and your family are enjoying summer. Here’s an update from the Capitol.
During the last weeks of the legislative session, lawmakers agreed on a bipartisan, bicameral budget framework. The agreement included investments in Minnesota students, solutions to help Minnesotans with rising costs, measures to strengthen public safety, support for people with disabilities and older Minnesotans, and much more. By no means did it include everything House DFLers had been pushing for, but in divided government, compromise is necessary. However, in the push to reach a complete agreement on each budget area, the Republican majority in the Senate showed little interest in fulfilling their agreement, running out the clock until the Legislature was forced to adjourn. Since then, Republicans in the Senate have walked away from negotiations. Minnesotans expect results from their state government, and especially with a significant budget surplus, they deserve solutions to rising costs and other barriers they face to success. We could finish this work in a special session and it’s deeply disappointing Republicans aren’t willing to do so, and are therefore blocking so many critical investments in Minnesota’s future.
Nevertheless, despite some vitally important work remaining incomplete, here are some of our accomplishments this session:
On July 1, several new laws take effect as a result of action this session. A full list is available here.
Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed 50 years of settled law by overturning protections under Roe v. Wade guaranteeing the right to a safe, legal abortion. Extreme laws in other states – some of which have already taken effect – will result in dangerous health care outcomes, especially for Black women who already experience unacceptable maternal health disparities.
In Minnesota, Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison, and DFL lawmakers are committed to protecting patients’ rights to make deeply personal health care decisions. This week, Attorney General Ellison joined 22 other attorneys general in reaffirming the right to abortion access. Still, this is a scary time, as Republicans are working to undo these critical protections. We must come together to stand against any further cruel efforts to infringe upon reproductive freedom.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children between 6 months and 5 years old after the CDC’s recommendations were adopted for this age group. This is great news for parents who – for over two years – have had to take extra precautions to keep their kids safe and healthy. A state-run site at the Mall of America is currently offering shots open Wednesdays through Fridays, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Parents can book appointments at https://my.primary.health/r/vaxmn.
A map of all locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine is available here, including primary care providers, pediatric and family medicine offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, local public health agencies, and more.
Following a bipartisan compromise this past legislative session, Governor Walz signed a bill into law providing $500 million worth of bonus payments for frontline workers who put their own health at risk during the worst period of the pandemic. Minnesotans in sectors including health care, first response, food service, transportation, retail, and more are eligible. Learn more and apply at frontlinepay.mn.gov. Workers have until July 22 to apply.
Please feel free to reach out to share your feedback, offer your ideas, or let me know if I can be of help. It’s an honor to represent you.