This week, my colleagues and I approved a package of legislation to help Minnesotans make it through the pandemic. The cornerstone of the bill is a $100 million investment in housing assistance. This funding would help Minnesotans make payments on rent, mortgages, utility bills, and property taxes so they can remain safely in their homes. The bill also invests $55 million in the Small Business Emergency Loan Program, which provides forgivable loans for businesses across the state. Many businesses need this support to keep operating as part of their communities.
The legislation includes targeted funding to bring broadband to unserved communities, provide students with the equipment they need to access online learning materials, and reimburse health care providers and counties that purchase telemedicine equipment. This would help provide more Minnesotans with a reliable internet connection so they can access vital services and stay in touch with others during the pandemic.
Finally, the bill increases wages for personal care attendants (PCAs) who care for people with disabilities, seniors, and other vulnerable Minnesotans. COVID-19 has created new challenges for PCAs, most of whom were already overworked and underpaid. They deserve our support more than ever before. You can find more information about this bill here.
Guaranteeing Pay for Hourly School Workers
On Monday, we passed legislation to ensure paraprofessionals, nutrition services staff, bus drivers, and other hourly school employees get paid through the end of the school year. Many of these workers are facing financial uncertainty as a result of the transition to distance learning. They’re still providing valuable services and support to our students, and they deserve to be compensated. More information about this bill is available here.
Ensuring Safe and Secure Elections
Minnesotans shouldn’t have to risk their health to participate in our democracy. This week, we approved a bipartisan bill to protect the health and safety of election officials and voters. It allows our state to use federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to prepare for increased absentee voting, open new polling locations, purchase sanitation and disinfectant supplies, and expand public outreach. It also includes funding to hep protect our election system from hacking and foreign interference. You can read more about the legislation here.
Safely Resuming Elective Surgeries
Starting next week, hospitals, clinics, and surgical centers can begin performing elective surgeries once they create a plan to keep patients and healthcare workers safe. On Tuesday, Governor Walz issued an executive order to allow doctors, dentists, and veterinarians to resume procedures that can keep Minnesotans healthy and improve their quality of life. You can read the executive order here.
Assistance Available for Minnetonka Renters
The City of Minnetonka is partnering with Intercongregation Communities Association (ICA) to provide emergency rental assistance. Minnetonka residents who’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19 can apply for a one-time payment of up to $1,500 to help pay rent and utilities. You can find out if you’re eligible and apply for assistance here.
Please take care of yourself and your family. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to email or call me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-9934.