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

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Legislative Update - Vaccine Eligibility & New Guidelines

Monday, March 15, 2021

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors, 

Last week saw more optimistic news for our state. More Minnesotans continue to get the vaccine ahead of schedule, guidelines are being safely loosened on businesses, and if we play this smart, a healthy summer with our loved ones is within our reach. 

Here’s the latest from the State Capitol:



New Guidelines for Businesses and Gatherings

With over 70% of Minnesota age 65 and over having received the COVID-19 vaccine, opening up vaccine eligibility to millions more, Governor Walz announced the latest rollback of guidelines, increasing capacity for businesses and gatherings - going into effect today.

New Business & Gathering Guidelines

While this is good news, it’s progress we can’t afford to lose. As we take advantage of these updated guidelines, please continue to practice social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and all the other public health habits that have kept us healthy. 

You can read more about today’s new guidelines here



Minnesota’s Insulin Safety Net Program

Last week, we received the news that 465 Minnesotans have taken advantage of the state’s new insulin safety net program, which was established last summer when we passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. The law we passed in Alec’s memory provides both emergency and long-term assistance to Minnesota’s diabetics, should they find themselves unable to afford their next dose of insulin. While it’s great to hear that this program has been helpful to so many, we know there are others this program could help.


This data underscores the importance of this hard-fought law which illustrates Minnesotans with diabetes continue to struggle to afford a medication they need to survive. We must remain diligent in promoting Alec’s Law so that Minnesotans are aware of this life-saving program while also working to tackle the systemic issues responsible for the unacceptable high cost of prescription drugs.

Minnesotans in urgent need of a 30-day supply of affordable insulin should go to where you can see if you qualify, download the application, and learn how to apply today. 



Keeping Minnesotans in their Homes

Last week in the Housing Committee, we heard testimony on House File 12, which would provide an off-ramp to Governor Walz's Eviction moratorium in a way that makes renters and landlords whole while preventing a wave of evictions that are on the horizon unless we take action. 

The pandemic has been unfair in so many ways and so many are falling behind. The collateral consequences of an eviction could condemn them to poverty for decades through no fault of their own. We simply cannot let that happen. You can watch my comments in committee below.


For now, Hennepin County is offering an initial short-term program to get urgent help to households with great need. The deadline to apply is this Friday, March 19, at noon.



Stay Connected

We’re about halfway through the legislative session, and the remaining weeks will be packed with committee hearings and long floor sessions as we craft Minnesota’s budget to help us get through the rest of this pandemic and bounce back once it’s done. 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