I hope you had an excellent holiday season and that 2020 is treating you well so far. The legislative session will start on February 11 and preparations are underway with many House committees conducting tours and informational hearings both at the State Capitol and across the state.
This week, Governor Walz announced his 2020 capital investment proposal. In the upcoming legislative session, I’m committed to enacting a regionally-balanced, robust package of investments in our higher education institutions, roads and bridges, parks and trails, wastewater treatment facilities, and other important assets, including many in our region.
This year, Minnesotans will select candidates for President in a primary election. No matter what your party affiliation is, it's important to cast your vote and help ensure our government is representative of our shared values.
No-excuse absentee voting is available starting tomorrow, meaning Minnesotans can be among the first in the nation to cast their votes. You can request a ballot to be mailed to you or update your voter registration here. The Secretary of State’s office has answers to a number of frequently asked questions about the new process available here.
If you went deer hunting during the 2019 season, I hope your efforts were safe and successful, and that you have a freezer full of venison. While we look fondly upon our hunting traditions, the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) remains present over Minnesota’s deer population. I wrote a newspaper column back in November highlighting our efforts to date to stop the spread of this deadly condition.
Unfortunately, since then we’ve seen a couple of other instances of CWD confirmed, with one at a Douglas County deer farm in December, and last week, the impact of CWD hit closer to home as an infected doe was found in Pine County. A temporary DNR rule is currently in effect which prohibits farmed deer from being transported within the state. I support these efforts to protect our cervid populations so we can maintain our strong outdoor heritage – including deer hunting – here in the state of Minnesota.
At the end of 2019, the federal government enacted bipartisan legislation marking an important milestone in public health and accountability for Big Tobacco. Anyone under the age of 21 is now prohibited from purchasing tobacco products, including vaping devices. Nineteen states already raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, and more than 500 cities and towns also have done the same (including many here in Minnesota).
With vaping on the rapid rise among teens, my colleagues and I announced a new comprehensive plan to stop Big Tobacco from targeting our kids and addicting a new generation to its deadly products. The plan bans the sale of all flavored products, increases youth education and prevention efforts, and prohibits online sales. Smoking and vaping are barriers to young people developing into healthy adults, and I’m proud to support these solutions.
This weekend, the Minnesota DNR has a unique opportunity to introduce kids to all the enjoyment of ice fishing. Between Saturday, January 18 through Monday, January 20, Minnesotans 16 or older can ice fish without a license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing. More information is available here. As always, take care to be safe when out on the ice, and the DNR has a comprehensive series of tips here.
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Please continue to reach out with your input and feedback on the issues that matter to you, or if I can ever be of assistance. You can contact me at email@example.com, or at (651) 296-4308. It’s an honor to represent you.