Food Freedom for Minnesota
This past Monday my bill on food freedom was heard in committee. The bill, as mentioned in last week's update, is aimed at lifting restrictions on “cottage,” or home-made food producers allowing them to sell directly to consumers. This past year we saw, thanks to the pandemic, some of the issues in our food supply chains. Moreover, we saw a revival of your local neighborhood farmers markets over the indoor box chain stores. The goal of this legislation is to simply allow individuals to have a low bar for entry in starting their own cottage food business.
Currently cottage food producers are capped at $18,000 in gross income, and if they want to sell online or sell products with a shelf life they are legally barred from doing so. During the holiday many communities in Minnesota have traditional cuisines they love to cook. You can see them on Facebook marketplace or on flyers in your local stores. Currently all of those transactions are done on the black market.
By removing these caps and simply allowing individuals to sell directly to consumers we are giving farmers and entrupears a longer runway to start-up. No longer would they have to get industrial kitchens and copious licenses’ simply to sell tamales once a year. Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, and Maine have food freedom laws, and there have been no reported increase of foodborne illness. These states have safely expanded their cottage food laws while creating a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs and increasing access to local food.
Last chance to submit initial comments
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is working to adopt a new rule to reduce vehicle emissions and make more electric vehicles available to consumers in Minnesota, known as the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking. After the current open comment period closes on March 15, you will have an opportunity to respond to comments that other individuals or organizations have submitted into the record—known as the rebuttal comment period.On March 16, the Office of Administrative Hearings will publish a new e-comments webpage for rebuttal comments. We will post a link on the Clean Cars Minnesota rulemaking page as soon as it's available.
The current open comment period closes on Monday, March 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
In order to submit a comment you must write your question or comment down and submit through the Office of Administrative Hearings e-comments website, or by fax or mail according to the instructions in the public notice.
Step-by-step instructions for how to submit a comment and attach documents is available on the Office of Administrative hearings website: Directions for using the rulemaking e-comments website
All comments regarding the proposed rule must be sent to Administrative Law Judge Palmer-Denig to be included in the official rulemaking record.
You can submit rebuttal comments from March 16 through Monday, March 22, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
Today, it was announced that on Wednesday, March 10 vaccine eligibility will expand to the next two groups of priority populations – more than 1.8 million Minnesotans will become eligible to receive a vaccine beginning this week. These newly-eligible Minnesotans, the state has directed providers to prioritize appointments for individuals in the first of these groups. Providers will then have the flexibility to offer available appointments to people in the second group.
The first group includes:
- People with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, or oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant
- Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
- Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness
The second group includes:
- People age 45 and older with ONE or more of the following underlying medical conditions; or, age 16 and over with TWO or more of the following underlying medical conditions (learn more about these conditions on the Who’s Getting Vaccinated page):
- Active cancer
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Diabetes - Type 1 or 2
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from HIV, bone marrow disease, chronic steroids for more than 30 days, immunodeficiency disease, or from taking immunosuppressive medications
- Obesity - body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2
- People 50+ in multi-generational housing
- Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, Postal Service workers.
On Walmart, you need to have a Walmart account but that’s easy to create.
The Minnesota vaccine connector scans Walgreens, Walmart, Thrifty White and HyVee for vaccines throughout the day. Their website is HERE.
HyVee - You have to search by location. I’d recommend using the Hy-Vee store locator to find stores within 50 miles of your home and starting there.
Their website is HERE.
CentraCare has a wide variety of appointments in Central Minnesota, you can schedule an appointment HERE
In the near future the state is going to be rolling out mass vaccine events. To sign up for it, the person needs to be registered with the vaccine connector HERE
Coborn's Grocery Store and Pharmacy has also added vaccine appointments. The website is a little tricky and you need to create account but there is availability HERE
Finally, if you’re signing someone up here’s the info you mostly need:
- Date of Birth
- Phone number
- Email (you can use your own)
In some cases you might need their Medicare number, but they can show their card at the pharmacy.
Thank you for being engaged in Government,
State Representative, 23B
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. We are still attempting to provide regular contact remotely so if you have other needs, please email my Legislative Assistant, Grayson, at Grayson.firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the Minnesota House on Public TV
House Streaming Website
Also you can watch committees and Floor Sessions on YouTube.