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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL)

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Legislative Update – January 21, 2022

Friday, January 21, 2022

Dear Neighbors,

The 2022 Legislative Session starts on January 31. Our economy is headed in the right direction, but many people and families are still struggling to turn the corner following an incredibly difficult period. Many workers, families, students, and small businesses are struggling. With COVID-19 and the Omicron variant continuing to spread, we will face additional challenges with an aura of uncertainty remaining.

Still, I’m optimistic for the future and excited for what’s possible. We have a $7.7 billion positive budget balance which gives us the opportunity to make a significant difference in people’s lives. I’m hopeful we can work together to address some of the urgent needs we’re facing right now due to COVID-19 and its related difficulties, as well as set our communities on a long-term path toward success.

I’m also committed to ensuring we advance this work through an equity lens, and I’m proud to have been recently elected co-chair of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus (POCI). This will be an important responsibility to help lift up the voices of those who have historically been marginalized in our halls of government, and eliminate inequities and systemic racism in our decision-making.

UBLC Town Halls

The United Black Legislative Caucus (of which I am a member) will hold a pair of Virtual Town Hall Meetings this month on Saturday, January 22 and Saturday, January 29 at 1 p.m. Both meetings will be held on Zoom.

1/22 UBLC

Our Town Hall tomorrow will focus on “COVID-19: Being Black in a Pandemic” with an open, honest discussion about the effects of the pandemic on the Black community and the inequities in the healthcare system that have been made apparent during the ordeal. We’re honored to be joined by Shirlynn LaChapelle, R.N., who has worked in critical care, trauma, emergency medicine, and as a surgical nurse practitioner at Cook County Hospital. Currently working in community health, she served as president of the Minnesota Black Nurses Association from 2010-2018. The Zoom Meeting ID for the January 22 event is 846 6849 2476, and the passcode is “democracy.” To register ahead of time and submit questions, click here. Attendees are also able to RSVP to the event on Facebook.

January 29 UBLC Town Hall info

The January 29 Town Hall will feature a Conversation on Education, Housing, and Public Safety, and will include presentations from experts and members. The Zoom ID for the January 29 Town Hall is 883 7937 1417 and the passcode is also “democracy.” Attendees can register ahead of time and submit questions here.

I hope you can join us!

House DFL Climate Action Plan

This week, House DFLers announced plan to invest $1 billion to tackle our climate crisis. This bold, science-based plan, developed by members of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus, will protect the environment and our health, help Minnesotans save money, and create good-paying jobs. The $1 billion investment is divided into five sectors: energy, transportation, the built environment, lands, and adaptation and resilience.

There’s a tremendous urgency to address this crisis. The longer we wait, the more expensive and the more difficult it will be to meaningfully tackle the problem. We’ve already made significant progress toward adopting cleaner, cheaper energy alternatives, and our plan will accelerate that transition by investing in renewable energy and home weatherization to lower energy costs and create good jobs. A fact sheet is available here.

Governor’s Local Jobs and Projects Plan

One of our main tasks this legislative session will be to enact a robust package of capital investments in public assets across our state. Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan have announced their proposed Local Jobs and Projects plan, containing infrastructure investments totaling $2.7 billion. This is a historic proposal, especially regarding equity-focused projects and providing more Minnesotans with a safe and secure place to call home. It contains several projects here in in our community, including $16 million toward a new North End Community Center and $12 million toward a new entry exhibit area at Como Zoo. More information about the proposal can be found here.

Public infrastructure projects aren’t just investments in material things; they are investments in our communities and improve our way of life, while creating good paying jobs. The Minnesota House will have our own capital investment proposal later this session and I’m hopeful we can come together on a bipartisan basis to invest strongly in our public infrastructure.

Free COVID-19 Tests Available

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place increased pressure on our health care system. Nurses, doctors, and other health care workers are overworked and exhausted. Please get your COVID-19 vaccine (or booster shot if you’re eligible), wear a mask in public places (preferably a high-quality mask like a KN95 or N95), and get tested if you have symptoms.

Earlier this week, the United States Postal Service made available four COVID-19 rapid antigen tests per household. Sign up to order them here, and they will be shipped later this month.

For any questions you have on the resources available to our community or our work in the Minnesota House, please feel free to contact my legislative assistant Sonia Romero at or 651-296-4307. 

In Solidarity, 

Athena Hollins

Minnesota State Representative (House District 66B)