This week is the end of our House deadlines where we have to pass bills through certain committees if we want them to have a chance of becoming law this year. Because of the deadline we have been really busy in our various committees hearing important budget bills. After this week the Legislature will be in recess for the next week as we prepare for the final stretch of session. Here are some updates from the Capitol:
MN Reconnect Program
My bill to fund the MN Reconnect program was heard in the Higher Education Committee. Since 2018, the MN Reconnect program has been helping adult Minnesotans, ages 25 to 62, re-enroll in college to finish their education through special services and benefits tailored to the needs of adult learners, including:
A personal advisor trained to help returning adults be successful
Up to $1,000 to release financial holds that prevent re-enrollment
We approved legislation to protect and empower Minnesota’s warehouse workers and to address practices that have led to high injury rates at Amazon facilities. Employees report having to work at a grueling pace and being unable to take breaks to eat, go to the bathroom, or pray. According to a report by the National Employment Law Project compiled with assistance from the Awood Center, one of nine workers at Amazon warehouses in Minnesota is injured on the job. This annual injury rate is four times the injury rate for all workers in private industry, and more than double that of non-Amazon warehouses in the state.
I am proud to support this critical legislation and I am deeply grateful to all of the workers who stood up and advocated for their rights.
Earned Sick and Safe Time Passes House
Two weeks ago the House passed a bill to create an earned sick and safe time for every Minnesotan worker. Earned sick and safe time will ensure working people are able to keep their job while facing the realities of an illness, a sick child, or an aging parent — increasing access to economic security for everyone. These past two years have shown how important it is that people have the option to stay home and get better when they are sick. I will continue to push for this legislation and I hope our Senate Republican colleagues recognize the importance of this legislation and how much it will benefit their constituents, and the entire state.
New COVID-19 Testing Approach
Minnesota households are now eligible to receive two test kits (for a total of four tests) per home through the mail at mn.gov/covid19. Minnesota has secured 500,000 test kits (for a total of 1 million at-home tests) and the program will be available until all the test kits are ordered.
Through the federal government, Minnesotans can order free rapid at-home tests at CovidTests.gov. Food banks, local public health agencies, community groups, and other community health organizations may also have free tests available. Due to actions taken by the Biden Administration, costs for over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests are now required to be covered by health insurance plans.
With the lessons we’ve learned over the last two years, Minnesota is well-positioned to respond effectively if case counts tick upward again. While we all hope to avoid another wave, testing continues to be important for preventing the spread of the virus. Getting a test is still recommended if you:
have symptoms of the virus.
have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
are returning from international or domestic travel.
attended a high-risk event.
work in a setting that has regular, close contact with many people.
Stay in Touch
Please feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-4212. If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants to receive updates about the Legislature, let them know they can subscribe to my email list here. You can also follow my Facebook page here. It’s an honor to represent our community. Please stay in touch and stay safe.
Rep. Jess Hanson, District 56A 421 State Office Building St. Paul, MN 55155