Last week the House passed four bills to help keep Minnesotans safe, healthy, and confident their voting data is protected. Here’s an overview of what we accomplished:
At the Capitol
Expanding Access to Affordable Insulin
The cost of insulin has tripled in the last 10 years, and it’s forced one in four people with diabetes to ration their insulin.
The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, the first bill we passed in the House this session, is named after a young man who lost his life because he had to ration insulin after aging out of his parents’ health insurance. Alec’s Bill would help Minnesotans get the insulin they need at a price they can afford in an emergency and long-term. It also holds insulin manufacturers accountable for inflating the cost of lifesaving medications. Now it’s time for our colleagues in the Senate to act.
Preventing Gun Violence
Hundreds of advocates greeted us as we entered the House Chambers to debate two gun violence prevention bills.
All Minnesotans deserve to be safe at school, at work, and in their communities. Last week my colleagues and I passed two bills that would make our communities safer by preventing gun violence. One requires criminal background checks on all gun sales, and the other establishes extreme risk protection orders that help keep guns out of the hands of people who are dangerous to themselves or others. We can’t stop every act of senseless gun violence, but we know that these measures can make a difference because they’re already working well in other states.
I hope Senate Republicans will consider taking up these common-sense measures. The vast majority of Minnesotans support criminal background checks and extreme risk protection orders, and they’ve been adopted in Republican-led states.
Protecting Voter Privacy
We also passed a bill that would address privacy concerns that some community members have shared with me. The bill increases voter privacy by placing restrictions on data that’s collected during presidential primaries, limiting who that data is shared with, and allowing voters to choose whether they’d like their information shared with a political party. This change will require agreement from the Senate, but it would take effect before data from the 2020 presidential primary is shared.
Several community members have asked me what our state is doing to address the spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus. First of all, I want to assure you that Minnesota is well prepared to respond to an outbreak. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is in constant contact with the Legislature, hospitals, clinics, and providers and prepared to test patients for the condition.
While there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Minnesota, experts believe it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” There are a few basic precautions we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The best guidance is to take the same precautions you’d use to avoid colds and flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Cover your cough with your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
I will share news and updates from MDH as I receive them. The latest information about COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself is available here.
In Our Community
One of my favorite parts of the legislative session is meeting with Minnesotans who come to the State Capitol to fight for what they believe in. Here’s a few of the community members and groups that I’ve met with recently:
Last Tuesday was Multiple Sclerosis Day at the Capitol. Many Minnesotans came to St. Paul to fight for people living with MS.
Kimberly Nguyen and I had a great conversation about supporting Minnesotans living with disabilities.
I met with students advocating on behalf of the climate last Wednesday.
I had a great meeting with representatives from my local YMCA on Monday. I know firsthand the work they do to support youth is transformational.
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions and feedback. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing more updates soon!