Several laws take effect today, including the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act and the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act. These new laws hold drug manufacturers accountable for inflating the cost of insulin and other medications and will help make prescription drugs more affordable long-term. Legislation that invests in renewable energy initiatives also takes effect today. You can read more about laws that are going into effect here.
CARES Act Funds for Local Governments
Last week, Governor Walz announced a plan to distribute $841 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to Minnesota’s cities, counties, and towns. His plan utilizes the per-capita formula that legislators developed during the special session. Based on that formula, Minnetonka will receive $4 million, Plymouth will receive $5.9 million, and Woodland will receive $35,000. Local governments have been working hard to keep us safe since the onset of COVID-19, and these funds will help them continue providing the critical services Minnesotans count on.
Holding Corporations Accountable for Defrauding Minnesotans
Last week, Attorney General Ellison announced he is suing three corporations for deceiving and defrauding Minnesotans about the consequences of climate change. The lawsuit aims to prove that ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute violated state laws and bar them from continuing to do so. If they’re found guilty, these companies could be required to fund a public education campaign on climate change and provide restitution for the harm Minnesotans have suffered because of their actions. You can read more about the lawsuit here.
Assistance for Small Businesses
As I mentioned in my last email, legislation we passed during the special session created a $62.5 million fund for small business grants to help Minnesota businesses weather these difficult times. Tomorrow is the final day to apply for grants of up to $10,000. More information about these grants is available here.
Improving Distance Learning
Yesterday, Governor Walz announced that philanthropic and business leaders have partnered with the state to help meet the technology and connectivity needs of families with school-age children. The goal of this partnership, ConnectedMN, is to bring technology and internet access to students across the state before the start of the upcoming school year. This is a much-needed step towards improving distance learning!
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is seeking input from parents and guardians to inform their plan for the 2020-2021 school year. If you’d like to share your distance learning experience, you can take their Fall Planning Survey here.
Building an Age Friendly Minnesota
AARP is seeking input on how our state can do a better job supporting Minnesotans as we age. They are inviting people who are 45 years old or older to complete a community survey, which will be available here until July 3. The feedback they receive will inform the work of the Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota, a group working to coordinate action across state agencies and make Minnesota a more livable state.
I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Fourth of July! Please continue to contact me with questions or feedback.