The 85th Minnesota Legislature was called into session on January 5, 2021, and has a lot on their plate, from the continuing pandemic relief, vaccinations, and economic recovery. MNRAAA has been in touch with the legislators serving our 27-county area (17 Representatives and 10 Senators) about the session and our priorities. MNRAAA, like the Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging, has identified four main areas to review with the state legislature: volunteer drivers, Age-Friendly Minnesota, broadband and social isolation.
Volunteer drivers are the lifeblood in many of our communities. From delivering home-delivered meals, taking individuals to appointments, or delivering groceries, they keep older adults engaged. We ask that Minnesota recognize them and clearly define them as not “for-hire” unlike Uber and Lyft rides.
Age-Friendly Minnesota started in December 2019 when Governor Walz signed an Executive Order to create a Governor’s Council. The council met over the past year and has submitted recommendations to the Governor’s Office. We would like to see those recommendations implemented and the State of Minnesota enrolled into the World Health Organization (WHO)/American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
The pandemic has shown everyone the tremendous gap in broadband in our area and throughout Minnesota. We need to continue to advocate for the expansion, implementation, and affordability of broadband for older adults and caregivers in Minnesota.
Social isolation has also taken center stage during these trying times. We need to continue to find innovative solutions to reach older adults who find themselves cut off from services. Some of these could include telehealth, telephone reassurance programs or friendly visiting. We need to find best practices throughout the state and implement them.
Stay tuned to our website for updates on our legislative priorities. To find out who represents you go to gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts and make your voice heard to improve older adults’ lives.