Greetings, Senate District 2!

Senate approves bill to expand vaccine access in rural Minnesota


Friends and neighbors,

While many folks will be enjoying a holiday on Monday February 15, the Senate will be in session continuing to work hard to pass common sense legislation that benefits ALL Minnesotans. I would also like to offer my thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families, the city of Buffalo, and all who are suffering from the tragic events that took place earlier this week.


This map shows the amount of people vaccinated in any county in the State. As you can see, there’s still a really low percentage in rural MN and not much progress yet for our elderly population, who are still being left on the backburner. One piece of good news: Minnesota has jumped up in the rankings of states with percentage of doses administered out of federally received vaccines.

Pending additional vaccines being shipped to our state and to further assist Rural Minnesotans get vaccinated, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that allows dentists to administer the flu and COVID vaccine. This bill provides additional flexibility for rural communities left behind. While the current law allows for trained dentists to administer the flu vaccine to patients 19+, this bill moves that age to 16+.

While there’s a lack of vaccine in MN, adding dentists to the list of those able to administer the vaccine will increase accessibility as more vaccines become available. The CDC has already recommended training more healthcare professionals to give the COVID vaccine and 20 states currently allow dentists to administer the vaccine.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Senate’s Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee held a hearing with the Minnesota Department of Health to discuss the current statewide youth sports mask mandate. 

  • The subject has received backlash from families and legislators concerned about the effects on participants’ health and the societal health benefits. This hearing was held to address those concerns, to talk with the Department of Health about what is driving their decisions, and to see what can be done to help Minnesota’s kids.

To watch a recording of the Wednesday Feb 10 hearing, click here.

The state’s increased collections of revenue for the month of January was higher than expected; this is a very good sign for the upcoming February forecast.

  • The net general fund revenues totaled $2.403 billion dollars in January, which is 14.3 % more than forecast
  • Net receipts from the individual income, sales, and corporate taxes were above the forecast, while other tax receipts matched the forecast. For fiscal year 2021, year to date receipts are now $13.727 billion, $459 million which is 3.5% more than forecast.

What this means is that Minnesotans are persevering through the pandemic and the last thing they need is more taxes. My GOP colleagues and I will continue to fight to keep the governor from raising taxes on hard working Minnesotans.


My bill SF 0713 which prohibits property value increases on homesteads owned by senior citizens, was introduced in Thursday’s session. I’m looking forward to presenting it to the Taxes Committee very soon.

On Thursday morning, I had the privilege of chairing the first Senate Hybrid Committee hearing. A hybrid meeting is a combination of in-person and Zoom participants. My Human Services Licensing Committee heard two bills from the capitol’s G-3 meeting room. With the help of Senate Media Services, the Secretary of the Senate’s office and my committee staffers, it went very well!


That’s all for this week’s update. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share any thoughts, concerns, or questions you may have. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9651 or by email at  

Senator Paul Utke


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