I hope you’re enjoying the first days of spring! It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through the legislative session. There’s lots of work remaining, but we’ve made progress lately. Here’s an update on some of our recent accomplishments:
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
The opioid epidemic led to the death of more than 400 Minnesotans in 2017. Last week the House passed legislation to invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery resources to fight the opioid crisis (HF 400). The services would be funded by increased fees on pharmaceutical corporations. Big Pharma has collected billions of dollars in profits over the years. It’s time they start contributing to solve the problem they created.
I spoke in support of the bill prior to the vote. You can watch my remarks here.
Distracted Driving Prevention
Everyone deserves to be safe on our roads. That’s why the House approved a bill to make sure that drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. The legislation requires drivers to use hands-free mode when they’re on their cell phones (HF 50). Hands-free cell phone laws have decreased accidents and fatalities in other states. In Minnesota, inattentive driving causes an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries each year and contributes to one in five crashes.
Protecting Minnesotans from Sexual Harassment
The House also passed legislation to improve the state’s sexual harassment statutes (HF 10). More than 80 percent of women report being sexually harassed in the workplace. This bill would remove the “severe or pervasive” standard, an unreasonably high threshold that has made it difficult for those who’ve been sexually harassed to seek justice in the courts.
Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable
Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt, Jr. have been advocating for making prescription drugs more affordable since their son Alec died in 2017. Alec passed away at the age of 26 because he couldn’t afford his monthly supply of insulin. House DFLers stood alongside his parents yesterday to announce a comprehensive plan to address the skyrocketing costs of insulin and other medications that Minnesotans need to stay healthy. More details on the bills contained in this plan are available here.
Minnesota Values Budget
In the second half of the legislative session, we’ll be building a state budget for the next two years. On Monday, House DFLers announced the framework for the Minnesota Values Budget, which makes significant investments in the people of Minnesota and the things they value. Minnesotans care about our state and want to see one another succeed. This budget reflects those values.
I always appreciate hearing from constituents, so please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.