The legislative session started on Tuesday, and already the pace is high. Of particular excitement for me was the early childhood proposal announced yesterday - see below - but there are many other issues moving quickly as well. Please keep in touch, maybe even in person at this weekend’s Chat.
Chat with Dave - This Sunday
Reminder about the Chat with Dave - an informal conversation with neighbors about the legislative session - this Sunday, February 16, 1:00pm to 2:30pm at Highland Park Community Center, right on the A Line. Get more details and RSVP here, or just show up.
House File 1: Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act
As chair of the House Early Childhood Finance & Policy Division, getting every Minnesota child off to a great start is my top legislative priority. So I’m delighted to say that yesterday my House DFL colleagues and I unveiled the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, a plan to invest $500 million in the youngest Minnesotans. Details on the plan are available here. You can watch a clip of the press conference where we introduced the plan here and read a Star Tribune article that includes some of my thoughts here. Stay tuned for further updates!
Making Insulin Affordable and Accessible
The original patent for insulin was sold by its inventors for $1. But with three insulin manufacturers controlling 90% of the insulin market, the price for this life-sustaining drug has tripled over the past decade. An estimated one-fourth of people with diabetes now skimp on or skip doses. Last session, the House passed the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, but it was blocked in end-of-session negotiations with the Republican-controlled Senate. Last night in the Health & Human Services Policy Committee, my colleagues & I heard more testimony as why action is urgently needed, as an updated Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act moved through the House. We’re ready to act right away; I hope that the Senate will join us to provide this much-needed help.
Protecting Voter Privacy
I’ve heard from many constituents with the fear that their choice of a political party in the presidential primary could be released broadly. This week, my fellow House DFLers and I introduced a bill (HF 3068) to address this concern, with strict limitations on data-sharing, including an opt-out mechanism. Senate Republicans have indicated that they will block any change to limit the dissemination of voter data. With concern rising statewide, however, I hope that they will relent.
Ramsey County Legal Defense Fund
In our country’s broken immigration system, it is rare for an individual facing deportation to be represented by a lawyer, despite the huge stakes involved. In response to this problem, Ramsey County has created a legal defense fund to assist low-income residents who lack immigration documents and are detained and facing removal. Click here for more information. To have a case evaluated, contact any of the following:
- Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota: 651-641-1011
- Advocates for Human Rights: 612-341-9845
- Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid: 612-334-5970
Free Tax Help Now Available
Tax filing season has begun, and I want to make sure Minnesotans know that there are more than 200 free tax preparation sites available to help people file their state and federal income tax returns. You can generally get help at one of these sites if you’re 60 years old or older, have a disability, speak limited or no English, or have an annual income that’s less than $56,000. Click here to see if you qualify for free tax preparation help and find a site near you. Thousands of taxpayers are also eligible to file electronically for free. Click here to find out if you qualify.
Please keep in touch! My contact info is below. A reminder to follow my legislative office on Facebook.
As for more generally following what’s happening at the Capitol, House Public Information Services is a great, nonpartisan source for coverage of public hearings, information about bills, daily schedules, and more. You can sign up to receive regular updates here or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for the honor of serving our community,
State Representative, District 64B
439 State Office Building
Subscribe to my email updates: www.house.leg.state.mn.us/64b
Follow my office on Facebook: www.facebook.com/repdavepinto