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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL)

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First Week of 2021

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dear Neighbors,

Even though it has felt like we have been in a perpetual session for the past year, this week is the official beginning of the 2021 session. I am honored to return to the capitol where I will continue to fight for our community. I am up for the challenge of legislating during this pandemic and will continue to put the health and safety of our community first as I continue my work for justice and equity in our housing, tax policy, and public safety systems. 

The dangerous insurrection that we all witnessed at our nation’s Capitol was a travesty. This is a result of far right misinformation campaigns and a clear attack in the name of Trump and white supremacy. Thankfully, they were largely ineffective in preventing the transfer of power. This revealed the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy among Republican leaders both nationally and locally. Many are already selling lies of what happened and drawing false a equivalency between protests for justice and coups for white power. 

There are still many good people fighting for the rights and freedom of all people. Here in Minnesota I am confident that we will be able to continue to govern safely with respect and dignity, but we have to continue to keep those on the right accountable before we can have true reconciliation. 

Walz Announces New Covid-19 Protocols

Thanks to your collective sacrifice and willingness to dial back during the holidays, Minnesota has seen a sharp drop in the amount of Covid-19 cases. As a result, Governor Walz announced last week that several restrictions on certain activities and sectors will be loosened. While this is certainly encouraging news, please remember that an open Minnesota is a privilege and one we must all work for. Please continue to mask up, get tested, stay home when sick, and avoid large gatherings of people from separate households. Here are the new rules:

  • 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 by 10 p.m.
  • Gym capacity remains capped at 25 percent but maximum capacity increases to 150. Machines and people should maintain 12 feet of distance. Classes increase to 25 people, assuming distancing can be observed. Everyone must be masked.
  • 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, or no more than 150 people. Masks required. No food service after 10 p.m.
  • Youth and adult organized sports have resumed practice as of Jan. 4 and games resume Jan. 14 with spectators. Inter-region tournaments and out of state play are discouraged.
  • Pools opened Jan. 4 for some activity and may now open, like gyms, at 25 percent capacity.

Dial update

Small Business Grants for Hennepin County

Last week, Hennepin County opened the small business grant application process for businesses and nonprofits financially impacted by the pandemic. The Minnesota Small Business Relief program, which was established as a result of the collaboration and work of the legislature and governor, contains $24.6 million in funding. The online application form is now live and can be accessed here. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any help with the application or have questions about eligibility.

Committee Assignments & Tracking the 2021 Session

In addition to chairing the Preventing Homelessness Policy Division, I will also be serving on the following committees:

The House is expanding the number of simultaneous committees it can?webcast live?from a maximum of two to five. You can use the link above to find the committee hearing you are interested in watching.  

The House Public Information Services offers nonpartisan recaps of high-profile bills, committee hearings, and floor sessions with their Session Daily publication. You can subscribe to receive these here. To track bills of interest through the legislative process, I encourage you to utilize the MyBills feature on the Minnesota House of Representatives’ website here.  

My updates from the Capitol are another great way to stay connected and respond with your input. If you haven’t subscribed or would like to receive my email newsletters please share this link with you neighbors, coworkers, and friends.

Keep In Touch

As always, feel free to reach out with any feedback or questions you have for me! I always appreciate working in partnership with you. You can also follow me on my Facebook page. Everything is moving quickly right now so be sure to stay connected.

In solidarity,

Aisha Gomez