The legislative session is starting on February 20, so it’s time for representatives and senators to head back to St. Paul to advocate for our districts. I always look forward to this challenge, and can’t wait to visit with folks from our area on any number of legislative issues. In order to keep you informed, I wanted to take a quick look at what I see ahead for this session.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
I think this is the year to make big strides in fighting the opioid epidemic. Anyone who knows me knows how this issue is close to my heart. Recently, I joined Governor Dayton and other legislators to discuss steps we’re taking this session to curb the opioid epidemic. I was able to talk about my bill, the Opioid Family Recovery Act; legislation I believe can help turn the tide of opioid addiction. You can see the video here.
This bill would impose what’s known as a stewardship fee on drug manufacturers. The revenue from this fee would raise around $20 million annually and go toward community grants, treatment centers, and child protection, among other avenues to help fight the epidemic. In 2016, nearly 400 Minnesotans died from opioid overdoses - that’s over one every single day. It’s obvious to me and some of my colleagues that the drug companies need to start pitching in to solve this issue.
As chair of the Select Committee on Technology and Responsive Government, I’ve been at the forefront of trying to find answers for our failing license system, MNLARS. After 10 years and almost $100 million, we’re still left with a product registrars can’t navigate and citizens can’t find answers. Now the state agencies are coming back to the legislature asking for even more taxpayer dollars. Plenty of time and money has already been spent on MNLARS, Minnesotans deserve this to be working properly right now. We’ll continue to help identify problems so those in charge of MNLARS can attempt to fix the issues.
Another topic I expect to garner significant discussion is tax conformity. Congress passed the federal tax relief bill, which means we’ll look to conform to the new tax code. This is quite the complicated process, but one that needs to be done to ensure filing taxes in our state is as easy as possible in 2019. As the tax committees start to look at this issue, we’ll know better what needs to be done to benefit Minnesotans.
Please Contact Me
Although I’ll be in St. Paul for much of the time over the next few months, I hope you will continue to reach out if I can be of assistance. You can reach me at email@example.com or 651-296-6206. Hearing from our area helps me better represent our district!
Have a great weekend,