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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tim Miller (R)

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REP. TIM MILLER - LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 3-22-2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

Rep. Tim Miller 17-A Prinsburg Representing Swift  Renville and Kandiyohi Counties

 

 

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

Hello from St. Paul!

 

This has been a busy week with multiple interesting bills coming to the House floor. To begin the week we addressed distracted driving with a "Hands Free" bill. The House also passed a bill which addresses the fight against Opioid addiction. Finally, this past Thursday we voted on a bill which changes the legal definition of sexual harassment in the workplace. I will discus each below. If you have any questions, let me know.

 

 

"Hands Free Bill"  HF50

 

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in our society. The advent of smart-phones allows people to text, watch videos, play games, and update social media all while driving. These activities distract drivers and take their eyes off the road. The consequences can be and have literally been fatal. I do agree that the state has a responsibility to address this issue. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What legislation can ensure people are not driving distracted? It's not as simple as you might think. Do we simply tell people they can't use their phones at all? Are people not allowed to use their GPS? How will the police know what you were doing? What should the penalties be if you are caught? What about bluetooth technology? These are only a few of the many questions and challenges faced when we try to address this problem. 

 

On Monday we voted on HF 50, a bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein 61A. He's a good man and has attempted to make a law that is both fair and reasonable. His bill was not perfect, but I planned on supporting it. It was a good balance of everything being considered. What disappointed me, however, is that he decided to attach a racial profiling study which would cost $150,000. This study would examine whether and how law enforcement racially profiles people they pull over for a traffic stop. Rep. Hornstein can certainly bring this to the House as a possible bill to be passed. However, I do not think it should have been attached to the "Hands Free" bill. These are two separate subjects and I do not like when I am forced to agree to something simply because it was included with a bill I intended to support. As such, I had to vote "no" on this bill. HF 50 passed the House and is now on its way to the Senate where I am sure changes will be made. Once the changes have been made and the House and Senate agree to the language, I am sure I can vote for this bill. 

 

 

Opioid Addiction Advisory Council HF400

 

This bill has two basic actions: 1.) Greatly increases the licensing fees to pharmaceutical companies who sell opioid products in Minnesota and creates a fee for providers (doctors); and 2.) creates an advisory council with the Department of Human Services that distributes this money to entities that help with addictions and mental health. There is more to the 20 page bill, however, these are the two major facets.

 

Opioid addiction is a very serious and pervasive problem in Minnesota, and I do believe the state has a responsibility to act. However, I voted "no" on this bill. As with the "Hands Free" bill, I am hopeful it will return from the Senate with language I can support. I do want to address this problem and I have great empathy for people and their families who have suffered at the hands of addiction. Nevertheless, my responsibility as your State Representative is to ensure good policy is implemented, and all individuals are taken into consideration.

 

I voted "no" for the following reasons:

1.) There is no sunset clause in this bill. The legislature will often place "sunsets" on brand new ideas that have not been tested for effectiveness. If this bill becomes law, then it will be the first of its kind in the entire United States to address the opioid epidemic. This would also be the first time we punish an industry through taxation for a problem they are believed to have created. We need to ensure this is the right thing to do. Furthermore, Minnesota is a plaintiff in a lawsuit which could bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the state in the next ten years. I supported a sunset for this bill which would require that the legislature revisit this issue in five years. As the bill is written now, $20 million a year will go to this council forever. What if we no longer have this problem in the future? I cannot accept the current terms of the bill.

 

2.) This bill does nothing to address the biggest problem regarding opioids - their illegal sale and use. I have spoken with professionals in the field of addiction, and they are telling me this is where the real problem exists. Very little of the $20 million a year will go toward assisting law enforcement in ending the illegal sale and use of opioids. If we truly want to address this issue, then shouldn't we address the biggest problem concerning it?

 

3.) I do not agree with the practice of punishing industry through taxation. This is bad policy. What happens the next time there is a societal problem that can be attached to a group or business? The judiciary is responsible to determine whether a law has been broken and to seek restitution; not the legislature.

 

4.) This bill also creates a significant unintended consequence. Fees will be placed on pharmaceutical companies doing business in Minnesota. When some of these companies leave, the bill requires the remaining companies to pay all of this fee (it's fixed at $20 million). This cost will be passed on to the consumer. How do we know this will happen? It already did. The State of New York passed a similar law, and the generic, low-cost pharmaceutical companies left. As a result, costs increased for lawful use of opioids by 1200%.

 

This bill will also come back from the Senate. If it addresses my concerns, I will vote for it.

 

 

Redefinition of Sexual Harassment HF10

 

In the past few years, sexual harassment has received a great deal of attention. Sexual harassment is something that cannot be tolerated. Many women, some in my own family, have told me horrific stories of men acting inappropriately towards them. This is not acceptable and we must have laws which defend people who are harassed in the workplace. Currently, we have laws in place which address this issue. However, case law has determined that harassment must be "severe and pervasive." This problem has stymied many legitimate cases of harassment. We need to fix that. Furthermore, we must balance this concern with the ability for businesses to properly defend themselves. I was a co-author on a bill last year similar to the one on the House floor this week. A lot of work has been done to get this right. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. I look forward to voting for the finalized bill that will be coming in the near future.



Representative Tim Miller

House District 17A

415 State Office Building

100 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Saint Paul, MN 55155

651-296-4228