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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 21, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dear neighbors,

As we approach the end of the second month of the legislative session, I’m encouraged by many of the great proposals proposed so far. While there are many months of work ahead, we’ve begun making progress on several important issues. I have been very busy getting bills heard and passed through committees. You can keep track of the bills I am working on here.

Public Hearing for HF 281

Dan Buchholtz, the city administrator of Spring Lake Park, and Cathy Sorenson, the city clerk of Blaine, testified on behalf of one of my bills earlier this month. HF 281 would allow city council members to participate in council meetings via Skype if they are deployed for military services or have a medical condition that doesn’t allow them to be exposed to the public. Currently, local elected officials are not permitted to call in if they place they are calling from is not open to the public. The bill passed and is on its way to becoming law.

Opioid Epidemic

Opioid use disorder is a costly epidemic. My family has fought this battle. We were fortunate that my brother was successful in treatment and recovery, but it was at a great financial cost. Many families are less fortunate, and not all people have the support they need to save their lives.

The opioid crisis has created a significant strain on families and local government budgets, costing taxpayers a significant amount of money. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are making record profits. Funding to end the opioid epidemic should come from their massive profits, not from Minnesotans. I’m proud to be a co-author of HF 400, a plan that would hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the crisis they created and invest in treatment and prevention programs.

Last year, a similar proposal passed the Senate, but stalled in the Republican-controlled House. I’m optimistic that with new Democratic leadership and members, we will advance legislation to combat the opioid epidemic this session.

Please read “Who Pays to Fight Opioid Use Disorders?” for more of my thoughts on this important issue.

Blaine Committee Hearing

The Transportation Finance and Policy Division will hold a public hearing in Blaine next week. All community members are invited to join me and other state legislators on Friday, March 1.

When: Friday, March 1 from 9am to 12pm

Where: Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449

If you’re interested in testifying at the hearing, please contact John Howe at john.howe@house.mn. More information is available on the committee website.

Sincerely,

Erin Koegel

State Representative

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