The 2020 legislative session began on February 11th. We are off to a busy start. This week’s email includes updates about insulin affordability legislation, my bill to establish extreme risk protection orders, what our state government is doing to address public health threats like the coronavirus, Paid Family & Medical Leave, and REAL ID.
If you want to share a question, comment, or idea about the issues highlighted in today’s email, or any cause you’re working on, you can find my full contact information online at www.house.mn/52B
. 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
I'm honored to serve you at the MN Capitol, and will continue sharing news and updates throughout the 2020 session.
State Representative Minnesota House approves insulin affordability bill
For too many families in Dakota County, paying for prescription drugs has gotten harder and harder as pharmaceutical companies drive up costs. One of the most prominent examples is insulin, a drug that people with diabetes need to stay alive the same way you and I need oxygen.
On Feb. 26, I voted in support of the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which creates a safety net for people with diabetes in the form of emergency access and long-term affordability. Most importantly, it requires pharmaceutical companies to contribute financially to a solution in response to their indefensible cost hikes.
For more information, read this Star Tribune story
about the vote. Minnesota House approves bill to create extreme risk protection orders
Extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) are a proven, evidence-based tool that have saved lives. Minnesota families deserve a mechanism to work with our law enforcement officers to prevent tragedies when they see clear warning signs. I’m pleased to report that on Feb. 27 the Minnesota House approved my bill to make this a reality in our state. ERPO laws have reduced firearm suicides, homicides, and mass shootings in other states, and they are currently in use in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Lawmakers also approved a bill authored by my friend and colleague Rep. Dave Pinto of St. Paul that would require criminal background checks on all gun sales. Click here
for KARE11’s coverage of the votes. Minnesota is well prepared for COVID-19
I am hearing from many people who want to know more about what Minnesota is doing to address the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory illness often referred to as the Coronavirus. First, I want to assure you that Minnesota is well prepared to effectively respond to an outbreak. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is in constant contact with the Legislature, hospitals, clinics, and providers. Click here
to visit a webpage with specifics about what’s happening. You can watch a March 2 briefing with MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Governor Tim Walz, and legislative leaders from both parties here
There are currently no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota, but experts are telling us it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” MDH’s labs are prepared to test patients for the condition. There are basic precautions we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. First thing’s first: wash your hands thoroughly. It may seem like common sense, but washing your hands for at least 20 seconds is critical to effectively remove microbiological bacteria. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and be sure to cover your cough with your sleeve or elbow. Lastly, if you’re sick: stay home.
I will share updates and news from MDH about this very serious issue as I receive them. If you or anyone in your community is concerned or seeking more information, please get in touch with my office. You can find my full contact information online at www.house.mn/52B
. Paid Family and Medical Leave. For everyone.
On Thursday, March 5, the Minnesota House approved a bill that would give everyone access to Paid Family and Medical Leave. The House approved the same bill last year, but did not advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.
It’s important to continue passing these bills to let Minnesotans know where we stand: I believe no one should have to choose between earning a paycheck and taking care of themselves or a family member, whether it’s after the birth of a new baby, helping an aging parent with physical disabilities, or an unexpected accident that could mean bankruptcy for Minnesotans who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
for coverage from the Pioneer Press. Apply for a REAL ID as soon as possible
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, Minnesotans will not be able to use their standard driver’s license or ID card to board domestic flights or enter certain federal facilities. Instead, Minnesotans will need a REAL ID, enhanced driver’s license or ID card, passport or passport card or another acceptable form of identification
for federal purposes.
If you want to receive a REAL ID prior to this deadline, the Department of Public Safety is urging Minnesotans to submit applications no later than June 15, 2020. To save time and make sure you have everything you need before you visit a driver’s license office, you can pre-apply online at realid.dps.mn.gov
Minnesotans who have questions or concerns about the status of their license or ID card can contact DVS at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 651-297-3298. Include your full name and date of birth with your question in the email.