After this week, incumbent legislators are no longer allowed to send communications like these updates via email or postal mail for the rest of the summer and fall. Still, I invite you to contact me directly with your input, feedback, or if I can ever be of assistance regarding a state issue. Please feel free to contact me any time at at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-9676. You can also follow along on my State Representative Facebook Page or subscribe to these updates if you haven’t already.
For my last update until November, here are some new resources available for our community, as well as upcoming deadlines:
Last week, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched. The hotline, transitioning from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with a shorter, easier-to-remember number, will connect people in crisis with trained counselors. Federal funding is supporting the new service, which will close a significant gap in mental health services. Traditional responses to 911 calls, such as law enforcement, aren’t uniquely equipped to respond to mental health crises.
Crisis workers are available at the three-digit number 24/7 and can connect callers to additional support or in-person care. The service is free and confidential.
Frontline Worker Bonuses - Applications Closing Friday!
One of the more significant accomplishments from this session was the investment of $500 million in bonuses for the frontline workers who kept our state running during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service and retail workers, and more are eligible for this bonus. This Friday, July 22 is the deadline to submit an application. Learn more and apply at frontlinepay.mn.gov.
Veterans Service Bonus
Another bonus is the product of this year's Veterans and Military Affairs bill - one of the the most bipartisan bills we passed this year. This bonus is for those who courageously served our nation, recognizing post-9/11-era veterans and Gold Star Families with service bonuses of up to $2,000.
There are approximately 48,000 eligible veterans, over half of whom deployed to combat operations including those in Afghanistan or Iraq. Minnesota has a long history of awarding these service bonuses to veterans who served in America’s wars. Starting in 1919 after World War I, through World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and now the Global War on Terrorism.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is facilitating the program. The application is now open. You can learn more here.
COVID Vaccines & Tests
Lastly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for children who are six months old or older. Both vaccines were carefully studied and help protect children from severe disease, hospitalization, and death. They’re administered in smaller doses and packaged differently than vaccines that are available for older children and adults.
More than 300 providers in Minnesota are offering vaccines to children between six months and five years of age, including pediatricians, pharmacies, community clinics, and more. Parents and guardians can use the Vaccine Locator Map to find providers in their area. More information about COVID vaccines for children is available at mn.gov/vaxforkids.
You can now order a third round of free at-home COVID-19 tests. Click here to place your order or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). More COVID-19 updates are available through the Minnesota Department of Health website, or the U of M Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).
Please let me know if you have any questions about these resources, or our work at the legislature. I always appreciate hearing from you!