COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate across the state with the positivity rate now over 10%, the highest in the nation and the highest we’ve seen since last fall. Hospitals are reaching their capacity and we are seeing increased breakthrough cases. Booster shots are now available and in order to receive as much protection as possible you should get one if eligible. It is likely that soon, everyone will be able to get a booster shot, but for now here is how you qualify:
All Minnesotans age 18 and older who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot at least 2 months after their first dose.
For Minnesotans who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, health officials recommend you should get a booster shot at least 6 months after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine if you:
Vaccination Incentives Governor Walz announced a list of Minnesota experiences that will be awarded to weekly drawing winners of the ‘Kids Deserve a Shot’ vaccine incentives campaign. These are designed to encourage 12-17 year olds to roll up their sleeves and get fully vaccinated. Some of the incentives include:
$200 Visa gift card
Tickets to several events and activities across the state
Five drawings for $100,000 Minnesota college scholarships
Parents or guardians must enter their 12-17 year old after they have received their second vaccine by November 30. Minnesota experiences will be divided up and drawn across all five drawing weeks from November 19 — December 17. You can refer to the official drawing rules online to see which experiences will be drawn each week.
COVID-19 vaccine is now recommended for children aged 5 to 11! This is good news for Minnesota families. Vaccination is the best way to protect your child and the people around them. It has been shown to be safe and effective. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds will be arriving at vaccination locations across the state in the coming days. Learn more about the vaccine and find a vaccination location near you.
Our local police departments are reporting an upsurge in auto thefts in all of our cities. The common denominator is that, in almost all cases, the keys have been left in the car. Some of the thieves are brazen. Cars have been stolen from unlocked home garages and from home driveways where the resident is unloading groceries. Don’t ever leave your keys in an unattended car -- even for a few minutes! Ring cameras are capturing thieves casing cars that are parked in home driveways and checking to see if side garage doors are unlocked.
In most cases, the thieves seem to be stealing cars to be used to commit other crimes. Because of the increasingly pervasive presence of Ring cameras and other video surveillance cameras, criminals want to use other people’s cars to commit their crimes, so they can’t be tracked down using video capturing the license plate numbers on their own vehicles.
Your car might eventually be located and returned to you; however, it will probably be looted and trashed.
Armed carjackings are still rare in the suburbs and, when they occur, it is usually because the criminal is fleeing from an active crime scene and needs to quickly take possession of an escape vehicle that cannot be used to trace them.
We are actively researching assertions that the problem is being exacerbated by “catch and release” policies in our local courts, especially for juvenile car thieves, and I will report back to you when we have more information about this issue.
Last month, the House “Bonding Tour” visited our district to get a firsthand perspective on our most important regional facilities projects for which we are seeking State funding. We visited the outdated Bloomington Public Health building, highlighting the need for a newer facility to meet the needs of our community. We also received a presentation on the Bloomington Ice Garden, which also needed updates, especially to its ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant system. Tonight, I’ll be attending a bonding tour stop where Minnetonka’s proposed bonding projects will be presented. I will be sure to push for these projects during the upcoming 2022 legislative session.
The Bonding Committee and I in front of the outdated public health building.
We were also joined by the Mayor of Bloomington and the Parks and Recreation Director.
The deadline to apply for the Capitol Pathways program is tomorrow at midnight!
Capitol Pathways is a paid spring internship program for college students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). With the long-term goal of making our government truly representative of our diverse communities, the program opens access to the Minnesota Capitol and policymaking to the next generation of BIPOC leaders. Through this program, students gain leadership, legislative and professional development training alongside an immersive hands-on paid internship experience with an organization working in policy during the legislative session. This is a spring 2022 internship from January – May 2022. Apply here.
Cold Weather Rule and Energy Assistance As the weather gets colder, here is some info you should keep in mind. Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule (CWR), which is administered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, protects residential utility customers from having electric or natural gas service shut off between October 1, 2021 and April 30. 2022. For more information, see the PUC’s Shutoff Protection page or call the PUC’s Consumer Affairs Office at 651-296-0406.
Over 600,000 Minnesota households are income-eligible for Energy Assistance, significantly expanding who can receive this essential help. See the 2022 income guidelines and apply.
Water bill assistance is newly available and weatherization help is also available through the EAP. By submitting one application through the Energy Assistance Program, you could qualify for payments to cover both water and energy bills, and qualify for the Minnesota Weatherization Program.
Keep in Touch
Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well.
Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol.
Steve Elkins Representative, District 49B Minnesota House of Representatives 515 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155 (651) 296-7803