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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - Vaccine Connector

Friday, February 19, 2021

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

This week, Governor Walz announced a new tool to help Minnesotans find out when they’ll be able to get their vaccine - the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. We’re still months away from the vaccine being widely available for all who want it, but the Connector will be able to better streamline that process once it’s available for you.


By signing up, the Connector will: 

  • alert you when you are eligible to receive a vaccine; 
  • connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment; and 
  • notify you if there are vaccine opportunities in your area. 

If you’ve already registered for the COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program, you’re already included in this database. In the meantime, let’s continue to make smart, healthy choices as we get closer than ever to putting this dark chapter behind us.  



Preserving Affordable Housing, Preventing Displacement  

In 2015, more than 2,000 Richfield residents were displaced when Crossroads at Penn was purchased by a developer and flipped to "market rate" apartments. This loss of ‘naturally occurring affordable housing’ (NOAH) devastated families in our community and across the state. We cannot look away. Thank you to Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez for helping share our experience in Richfield as we passed two bills to provide state investment to preserve NOAH. From a moral, economic, and equity perspective, the state of Minnesota can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to this pressing need. 

You can read more about the current state of NOAH at Minnesota Housing Partnership



Prescription Drug Affordability 

Last year, we were finally able to pass the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, helping to bring life-saving insulin to those who need it most, despite its skyrocketing price. This week, a bill I co-authored to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board began its journey through the committee process. In my view, this bill one of the strongest ways we can take another step forward to make prescription drugs affordable.   

The board would act as an independent council, setting price limits for prescription drugs that have been deemed unaffordable. You can read more in the Star Tribune’s coverage of the new legislation here



Help Name a Snowplow 

Let your voice be heard! After an exhaustive process of combing through thousands of worthy submissions, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has narrowed down to 50 finalist names for their “Name a Snowplow” contest. Voting closes on February 26, after which they’ll announce the winners and officially name eight snowplows throughout the state. Select up to eight of your favorite names

Plowy McPlowface

There’s a lot of fantastic options to choose from, but I for one am partial to Plowy McPlowFace.   



Stay Connected 

Other notable items from this week include legislation offering eviction protections, the Governor’s proposed $149 million increase for higher education, and a bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco throughout the state. 

If you have any questions or comments on our work in the Minnesota House, feel free to contact me at or (651) 296-7158. I look forward to hearing from you.  

In partnership, 


Michael Howard