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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - August 15, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Dear Neighbors,

Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC). With Minnesota’s lakes and streams increasingly threatened by aquatic invasive species, the center, in collaboration with the DNR, develops research-based solutions that can reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota by preventing spread, controlling populations, and managing ecosystems; and to advance knowledge to inspire action by others.

Those of us on the tour got to try the experimental “carp cannon” to remove invasive species from bodies of water where they cause problems.

On Saturday, MAISRC is sponsoring “Starry Trek,” encouraging Minnesotans to volunteer and identify starry stonewort, a relatively recently discovered invasive algae now in at least 14 Minnesota lakes. More info is available here.

Starry Stonewort bulbules

Additionally, the center continues to research and develop strategies to fight the spread of zebra mussels. We got to learn about the emerging genome mapping technology MAISRC is using to study and target them.

South St. Paul students

Yesterday, sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders from South St. Paul visited the State Capitol. It was a wonderful day outside and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit with them.

Emergency Access to Insulin

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of legislators invited advocates and Minnesotans with diabetes to the State Capitol for the first of a series of roundtables to discuss the high cost of insulin. The price of insulin has increased rapidly, more than tripling in the last decade, and studies indicate that 1 in 4 diabetics have resorted to rationing their insulin due to the high cost.

Along with hearing about some of the heartbreaking predicaments people with diabetes find themselves in, much of the discussion focused on the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, legislation named for a Richfield resident who tragically passed away after rationing his insulin because of the cost. The bill would establish an emergency supply of insulin for Minnesotans who cannot afford it, to be paid for by pharmaceutical companies who are profiting from the exorbitant cost of insulin and other prescription drugs. The Minnesota House approved the measure this past legislative session, but unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked it. After the legislative session adjourned, a bipartisan group of lawmakers began meeting about the issue, and have largely reached consensus on the framework for an emergency insulin access program, but have been unable to agree on a funding mechanism.

When they need it to live, no Minnesotan should have to put their life in jeopardy by rationing their insulin because they are unable to afford it, and I proudly support the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or input.



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