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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 26, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

Rep. Lee

Dear Neighbors, 

This week, we were given our clearest picture yet of when Minnesotans can expect to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While we’re still months away from the vaccine being available to the general public, the new timeline shows when more Minnesotans will become eligible for a vaccine this spring - based on their occupation, age, and health conditions. 

As we wait our turn for the vaccine, it’s incredibly important that we continue to follow public health guidelines and wash our hands, wear a mask, socially distance, and stay home when sick. Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector and Minneapolis’ COVID-19 Web Tool are great resources to utilize to find out when and where you can receive your dose once you or a loved one have become eligible.

Vaccine Connector


The Governor’s Jobs & Local Projects Plan

In the House Capital Investment Committee this week, we heard several important bills that either focused on Minnesota’s passenger rails and ports, or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines and ways for our children to safely travel to and from school. Our week started with Governor Walz announcing his 2021 Jobs and Local Projects Plan - totaling at slightly over $518 million. 

Governor Walz’s proposal puts Minnesota on the right track when it comes to creating new jobs, investing in our communities, and keeping a focus on inclusion and equity. Notably, the Governor’s proposal funds $100 million in Housing Infrastructure bonds to address Minnesota’s housing crisis, chips away at asset preservation, and includes $150 million in redevelopment appropriation bonds, which would be instrumental in helping small businesses rebuild after last summer’s civil unrest.

With low interest rates, Minnesota’s AAA bond rating, and a great need to help our state bounce back from the economic impact of COVID-19, there’s no reason Minnesota shouldn’t have a robust jobs and local projects bill this year. We’ll be reviewing the Governor’s plan next week in the Capital Investment Committee



Low-Emission Buses

Yesterday, I presented HF 646 in the House Transportation Finance & Policy Committee. This bill requires the Metropolitan Council to deploy low emission buses in areas with poor air quality. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), motor vehicle emissions can contribute to health problems including respiratory issues, heart conditions, and an elevated risk of cancer.

While buses have generally been viewed as a more environmentally friendly transportation option due to the fact that they can help reduce the number of cars on the road by carrying a large number of people, they still contribute to emissions that impact air quality, particularly in cities. This bill will help communities with high health disparities like ours - communities that have been identified as areas of concentrated poverty where 50% or more of the residents are people of color and are at risk for both asthma and heart conditions. I’m bringing this bill forward because I do not want the state to systematically fail in addressing the health concerns of communities who have been impacted by air pollution as it relates to transportation.



Happy Tyler Johnson Day!

Today, the Minneapolis School Board has declared February 26, 2021, as Tyler Johnson Day. Tyler is a great role model and proud Minneapolis Public Schools alumnus and Northsider, who also recently became a Super Bowl champion as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team!



A Smoke Free Generation

One of the things I miss the most during our largely virtual legislative session are the visits I’d receive from constituents in my office at the State Capitol. As with many things, Minnesotans have adapted, and organizations have shifted their “Days on the Hill” to virtual Zoom call events. Recently, I was able to meet with members of our community during ClearWay’s Minnesotans for a Smoke Free Generation event, where constituents advocated for legislation to help curb the increasing rates of tobacco addiction we’ve seen in recent years. 

I’m proud to share that I’m the co-author of several anti-tobacco measures, including HF 572 and HF 569, which appropriates money to the Commissioner of Health to help fight tobacco addiction. I’m also a co-author of HF 904, which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Minnesota. We’ve made a lot of progress in our state when it comes to lowering the rates of youth tobacco addiction, but unless we act, e-cigs and flavors threaten to completely undo that hard work. 

If you have any questions related to our work in the Minnesota House, or would like to schedule a virtual visit, feel free to reach out to our office. I appreciate hearing from you. 



Fue Lee

State Representative