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

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Legislative Update - March 28, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dear neighbors,

As I reflect back on the past week, I’m amazed by the great work accomplished in the House! We passed legislation to address the opioid epidemic, make our road ways safer, and strengthen sexual harassment laws. There’s more hard work to do in the last two months of session, but I’m proud to be part of the House DFL and excited to see what’s next.

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Last Monday the House passed a bill that would hold Big Pharma accountable for the opioid epidemic and get much-needed help to people who are struggling with addiction (HF 400). The opioid epidemic causes more deaths each year and has created a significant strain on Minnesota families and taxpayers. Opioid manufacturers and distributors have collected billions of dollars in profits without having to pay a dime to help solve the crisis they started. This legislation would provide $20 million for prevention, treatment, and recovery services by increasing fees paid by Big Pharma.

I talked about my family’s battle prior to the vote on HF 400.

Distracted Driving Prevention

Distracted driving is a factor in one of five crashes in Minnesota. The House recently passed a bill to require drivers to use their cell phones in hands-free mode, ensuring that they keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road (HF 50). Similar policies have decreased accident rates and deaths in other states. I’m confident that this law will make our roads safer for everyone.

Protecting Minnesotans from Sexual Harassment

Legislation to strengthen the state’s sexual harassment laws passed the House with overwhelming support on Friday. This bill would eliminate the “severe or pervasive” standard, which makes it difficult or impossible for those who are experiencing harassment to seek justice (HF 10). Changing the threshold for determining what constitutes sexual harassment under the law is crucial because more than 80 percent of women report being sexually harassed in the workplace.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness

One-third of mothers experience symptoms of depression or similar disorders during or after pregnancy. Due to misunderstanding, many cases go unreported. If left untreated, these mood and anxiety disorders can lead to negative impacts on birth outcomes, infant development, and the well-being of mothers and families. I’ve introduced a bill to raise awareness of this issue by designating May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month (HF 1300).

You can watch the first public hearing for this bill here.

Minnesota Values Budget

On Monday, House DFL lawmakers announced the framework for building the state budget for the next two years. Budgets are a reflection of our values. They show what and who we care about. Minnesotans care about each other, and we want world-class schools, affordable health care, and safe and inclusive communities. The bright future we want to build for Minnesota requires honest investment. I choose to invest in the people of Minnesota because everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. 

As always, please feel free to share your questions and concerns.


Erin Koegel
State Representative

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