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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)

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The 2021 Legislative Session

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn

Dear Neighbors, 

We’re just two weeks into the 2021 Legislative Session, but I imagine for many of you that has been overshadowed by the violent insurrection in D.C. and the news of other similar events throughout our nation. Now more than ever we need to work against disinformation and violence.

While it’s been a dark start to the year for our country, there are bright spots ahead. The days are getting longer, many students will soon be heading back to classrooms, and I’m confident in our ability to rise up and meet the challenges that face us. I look forward to the good work we will do together this session.



The 2021 Legislative Session

When I first took office two years ago, the first day of session saw the House floor packed with families and friends as my legislative colleagues and I took our oath of office together. I will remember that day fondly, because my dad was able to be with me in the chamber before he passed away later in the year. And this year, my five-month-old son joined me in my office! Although the swearing-in procedures were mostly virtual this year, it was still a day of celebration. I am proud to be one of the record-breaking 72 women serving in the Minnesota legislature this biennium.


Our virtual oath of office was an appropriate start for a session that will largely be conducted over Zoom calls and livestreams. The end of this pandemic is nearing, but until we can ensure the health and safety of staff, constituents, and members, this will continue to be our new normal. 

This session, I’m happy to share that I’ll be serving on the House Behavioral Health Policy DivisionEarly Childhood Finance and Policy and Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy committees, and as the Vice Chair of the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee. I look forward to sharing our committee work with you.



Legislative Priorities for the House DFL

The House DFL rolled out our top legislative priorities for this year’s session, with a focus on strengthening areas that have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. All Minnesotans deserve the economic security to care for their families and themselves in safe and healthy communities. To help Minnesota get through this pandemic and build back better, we’re proposing investments in education, affordable healthcare, child care, and worker protection. This is how Minnesota bounces back.

Session Priorities


The Latest on Vaccine Distribution

Over 200,000 Minnesotans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 40,000 Hennepin County residents. As you may have heard or seen in the news, the vaccine is being administered in phases. Health care workers and long term care residents will be the first to receive it, followed by essential workers, those 65 or older, and those with underlying health conditions. If you’d like to stay updated throughout the vaccine distribution process, our state’s new Vaccine Data Dashboard is a great resource. 

Today also marks the first day of Minnesota’s vaccine pilot program for those age 65 years or older, as well as school employees and child care workers. Though our vaccine supply remains limited, the pilot program is designed to help start the process of vaccinating this next group of Minnesotans. The system quickly experienced a high volume of traffic, and for now it’ll be working to address the significant queue of appointments already requested. Be sure to check back to book appointments online here, or by phone at 612-426-7230 or toll free at 833-431-2053 - but patience will likely be needed. 



Unclaimed Property

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property from businesses and organizations that have lost contact with the owners. The Department is responsible for safeguarding the funds or property until claimed by the rightful owners or heirs.

Property is considered unclaimed if it is being held by a business or organization that has not had contact with the owner for a specific number of years. To see if you have anything to claim, you can check Commerce’s website, here



Rolling Back Measures for Businesses & Gatherings

Thanks to our shared sacrifice in adhering to public health guidelines, COVID cases have been on a consistent downward trend in Minnesota. In response to this decrease in cases, Governor Walz rolled back restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms, and other venues and gatherings. 

Dial update

The changes include the following:

  • Indoor dining at bars and restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 150 people. Parties of no more than six people must remain six feet from other parties; bar seating is open to parties of two; reservations are required; and establishments must close dine-in service by 10 p.m.
  • Gym capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150 and classes can increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Machines and people must maintain 9 feet of distance. Face coverings are required.
  • Outdoor events and entertainment continue at 25 percent capacity, but maximum capacity increases to 250 people. Social distancing is required.
  • Indoor events and entertainment – like bowling alleys, movie theaters, and museums – may open at 25 percent, with no more than 150 people in each area of the venue. Face coverings are required, and they may not offer food service after 10 p.m.
  • Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of January 4 and games resume January 14 with spectators, following the appropriate capacity limits for indoor or outdoor venues. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
  • Places of worship remain open at 50% capacity but without an overall maximum capacity.


Be sure to patronize a business in a safe and responsible manner!

While this is helpful for our local businesses, it remains critical that we continue to social distance, wash our hands, wear a mask, and get tested

My family recently got tested at the community testing site at the MSP airport. The process is quick and simple, but my 4 year old did take awhile to figure out how to spit into the test tube. We received our negative results the next day



Stay Connected This Session

Thank you to everyone that came to our virtual town hall last month! If you missed out, you can read about it in this piece from the Sun Sailor, or watch the video on my Facebook page. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on when we hold our next event, and in the meantime my Facebook page is a great place to “like” and follow for updates relevant to our community and our work at the legislature. 

Though you’re still unable to observe in person and most legislators are working, we’ve increased the number of available livestreams on the House of Representatives webpage to ensure the public is able to watch all of our committee hearings and floor sessions, which you can access here

If you have any questions or comments for me, the best way to touch base is through email ( or phone (651/296-7449). You’ll either hear back from me or my legislative assistant, Jenna. I appreciate hearing from you.

Be well.



Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn