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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Anderson (R)

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Population changes could shrink rural representation in House

Monday, February 17, 2020

 

By Rep. Paul Anderson

Legislators attended an all-day conference at the Humphrey School of Management on the University of Minnesota campus during their first week back in session. One of the speakers who addressed legislators was Susan Brower, Minnesota’s State Demographer. She discussed the state’s population growth and how it may affect the upcoming 2020 census.

She reported that our state’s population at the end of 2019 was 5.64 million, an increase of 6 percent in the last decade. After the re-districting following the last census 10 years ago, each of the state’s 134 legislative districts was comprised of approximately 39,000 residents. Because of our state’s growth in the last 10 years, she estimated that those same districts will need to represent about 42,000 residents in the new decade.

What that means is our rural representation will shrink once again. Our districts in Greater Minnesota will need to become geographically larger so they will encompass the new population figure. Metro districts, on the other hand, will get smaller because more people are living in those concentrated areas.

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I’ve heard rumblings about possible changes with our state’s deer hunting regulations. One potential change that’s raising some eyebrows is a proposal to eliminate shotgun and slug hunting zones. Currently, in the northern part of Minnesota, roughly north of I-94, hunting with rifles is allowed. In areas to the south, they are not.

Safety concerns have been raised about the use of rifles in our part of the state, which is more wide open with farm fields and CRP areas. Rifle bullets travel farther than slugs and may cause issues. Northern areas have more trees and cover, which could limit how far a bullet can travel.

In visiting with folks knowledgeable about hunting, I was surprised to learn that safety wasn’t the reason that hunting deer with rifles has been banned in southern parts of the state. It was to reduce the number of deer taken. Rifles are more accurate and have a much longer range, so it was thought more deer would be taken in these areas if rifles were allowed. But now, that may all be changing.

A deer hunters’ group will be meeting next week to discuss the issue. It’s expected they could vote to support doing away with slug hunting zones in Minnesota.

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The high cost of insulin for those who suffer from diabetes has been in the news. We don’t want anyone needing the drug to go without because of the cost. Within the last year, three major health insurers in Minnesota have announced reduced or $0 co-pays for insulin. In addition, those covered by any of the state insurance programs also have access to reduced prices. It appears the only group currently unable to source insulin for reduced pricing is the group on Medicare caught in the “donut hole” of drug coverage. That’s a federal issue, one that hopefully can be addressed in the near future.

If you or someone you know would like assistance in finding reduced pricing on insulin, contact my office at 651-296-4317.

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