I hope this finds you well and getting through what is hopefully our last bit of snow before spring finally blooms! It's a busy time at the legislature, filled with committee hearings and bill presentations as the final proposals start to come together.
Working for our Communities
Last week, I presented three bills to the House Capital Investment Committee that would make significant infrastructure improvements in Excelsior, the South Lake Minnetonka community's downtown.
The first bill funds the replacement of an aging water main, sanitary sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. Excelsior’s water pipes are over 100 years old and its sewer and stormwater infrastructure need updates to increase resiliency through improved capacity that can accommodate increased precipitation.
The second measure invests in the reconstruction of the historic St. Alban’s Bay Bridge for Excelsior and Greenwood. Some truck traffic is already restricted due to its condition. If it is not fixed within the next five years, restrictions on the bridge will increase and create a public safety issue.
Excelsior Council member Caron did a great job testifying in Capital Investment on our bonding requests for badly needed road, bridge & sidewalk repair and water infrastructure updates.
I also discussed with the committee the need to pass legislation to rehabilitate Third Street and Center Street to improve traffic flow and pedestrian access in and near downtown Excelsior.
Great presentations by Excelsior Council member Jennifer Caron and Greenwood Council member Bill Cook in the House Capital Investment Committee to support my bills requesting bonding money to reconstruct and rehab Excelsior’s drinking water, sewer and wastewater infrastructure and to reconstruct the aging and historic St. Alban’s Bay bridge.
Access to safe drinking water and transportation is a basic necessity and I’ll continue advocating for policies that increase the quality of life, health and safety of residents and visitors.
You can find a comprehensive list of all the bills I'm carrying to improve our communities' infrastructure here.
Standing with Ukraine
The past few weeks have been full of harrowing images from Ukraine as Russia continues its violent invasion. In what has been a conflict of ever-growing atrocities, my heart goes out to the Ukrainian people, including the 17,000 Ukrainian-Americans who call Minnesota home.
In a unanimous vote, the House voted to divest Minnesota’s state pension fund from Russia and codify Governor Walz’s Executive Order barring the state from contracting with Russian companies.
I am proud that Minnesota is standing with Ukraine and adding to the international pressure that will hopefully soon bring this war to an end.
You can read more about this legislation here.
Supporting our Students
This week, my House colleagues announced our education blueprint for Minnesota students and families.
The bill’s mental health package, totaling $475 million, will address shortages of school support personnel that benefit students’ social, emotional, and physical health, and fund wrap-around services for students. I'm pleased to share my bill requiring schools to conduct mental health screenings with parental permission has been included in the final proposal. Now more than ever, our kids are relying on us to deliver the mental health support they need after an incredibly challenging two years, and I'll continue working to address the upsurge in demand to improve access to mental health services for our students.
Second COVID-19 Booster Approved
This week, the FDA authorized a second booster shot for Americans over 50 and for those 12 years and older who are immunocompromised. Following the FDA’s announcement, the CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain higher risk individuals. Second boosters for all Americans will be evaluated. You can read more from the U of M Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) here.
Considering dropping COVID-19 numbers and fewer positive tests and serious illnesses, Minnesota is changing its testing strategy, gradually moving away from saliva tests toward rapid at-home tests. Minnesota households are now eligible to receive two test kits (for a total of four tests) per home through the mail at mn.gov/covid19. Minnesota has secured 500,000 test kits (for a total of 1 million at-home tests) and the program will be available until all the test kits are ordered. You can also order free rapid at-home tests at CovidTests.gov.
Getting a test is still recommended if you have symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, after traveling, or if you’ve attended a high-risk event.
Connected to Community
Grateful to Jo Burr for sharing her family’s experience in the #HumanServices committee hearing today to support my HF3404, to provide family-centered community-based models to serve children with intensive mental health needs. #MentalHealthMatters #ForAHealthyThrivingMinnesota
Keep in Touch
Please continue to reach out anytime at email@example.com with questions, ideas, or input. I appreciate your feedback and thoughts! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4315. You’re also welcome to follow me on my Facebook page.
Have a great week!