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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL)

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A Busy First Week!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Neighbors,

Legislators have returned to St. Paul for the 2020 legislative session. It’s a new year, but Minnesotans’ values and the values that guide my work at the Capitol haven’t changed. We know that Minnesotans care about each other and want to see one another succeed. 

2020 Minnesota Values Plan: Build a state that works better for everyone

I am committed to building a better future for all Minnesotans. The Legislature made valuable bipartisan progress last year and we look forward to reaching meaningful agreements with our Senators on the issues most important to Minnesotans. House DFLers believe that all Minnesotans deserve a world-class education, affordable health care, economic security, and safe and inclusive communities. We will continue our efforts to make this better future a reality for all Minnesotans.

Our 2020 Minnesota Values Plan includes the following priorities:

World-class schools — House DFLers believe every child in Minnesota deserves a great start, and are working to close the opportunity gap and invest in early care and learning.

Affordable, accessible health care — House DFLers are working to pass long-overdue legislation to provide affordable insulin and reduce the price of prescription drugs. 

Economic security — House DFLers are working to provide paid family and medical leave and earned safe and sick time to all Minnesotans.

Safe and inclusive communities — House DFLers are working to enact common-sense gun violence prevention legislation including criminal background checks on all gun sales and extreme risk protection orders. We are working to deliver investments in communities across the state through local jobs & projects. And the House DFL will continue to advocate for bold action on climate, including a 100% clean energy standard.

House DFLers led the way last year with a bold, progressive agenda that sets a marker for the future. Last year’s budget was just a first step on a much longer road to a better state. We will continue working to advance an ambitious agenda that will improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

March for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Acknowledgment of the Dakota & Ojibwe Languages as Official Indigenous Languages

It has been a busy start to the session for me as I’ve been fighting to raise awareness on a number of issues facing our Native communities. On Friday, February 14th, I spoke at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples March where hundreds braved the cold to protest this crisis. You can read more about the march here.

Last Thursday the House Government Operations Committee approved a bill I’m authoring (HF 1346) that would recognize the Dakota and Ojibwe languages as the official indigenous languages of the state and acknowledge the critical role language plays in the culture of the Dakota and Ojibwe people. Languages play a crucial role in our daily lives, not only as a medium of communication, education, and social interaction, but as the heart of each individual's unique identity, culture, history, and memory. I hope that this legislation continues to move forward so that these languages get the recognition they deserve.

Kunesh Committee

Emergency access to insulin hearing

The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs are forcing too many people to make impossible decisions: Do I pay for groceries, or my medication? One of the most prominent examples of price gouging we’ve seen in the news is insulin, a drug that diabetics need to stay alive the same way you and I need water and air. I was able to listen to the stories of families and patients that have to deal with this crisis on a daily basis when Health and Human Services Finance Division heard the Emergency Insulin bill I co-authored (HF 3100.) This bill will serve as a critical safety net for those who can’t afford the insulin they need to survive.

Stay Warm! Cold Weather Assistance

While we may be due for a bit of a warm up this weekend we still have several weeks before winter is permanently in the rearview mirror. If you need help keeping your home warm for the rest of winter you should be aware of the resources available to you. First, if you need assistance paying your bills you may qualify for assistance, you can contact the Department of Commerce for more information. While utilities are still allowed to disconnect services during winter, under Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule they are required to meet several criteria before doing so. If you feel that a utility has not met these criteria you can reach out to the Public Utilities Commission or the Attorney General’s Office, both of which have resources to aid those facing disconnection of service. As always, feel free to contact my office if you need help!

Season Two of the Minnesota Values Podcast

The Minnesota Values Podcast is back for a second season. In the first episode, my colleagues Rep. Liz Olson and Rep. Jamie Long interview special guest Governor Tim Walz. Episode 2 focuses on Paid Family and Medical Leave. Listen at https://anchor.fm/mnvaluespod or anywhere podcasts are available, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

mn values

That's all for now - as always, please reach out with comments and questions at rep.mary.kuneshpodein@house.mn or 651-296-4331.

 

Sincerely,
Mary KP

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