On Monday, the House approved bipartisan legislation that invests significant dollars in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
The tragic consequences of opioid abuse have touched the lives of thousands, if not millions of families across this country. For many folks, it may seem like a problem that could not possibly happen in your neighborhood or your home, but the reality is that this illness takes hold of people from all walks of life; often times through no fault of their own.
The legislation approved on Monday evening assesses a fee on opioid manufacturers and wholesalers doing business in the state. The funds collected from this assessment are sent to a designated account to be allocated to address the opioid epidemic through programs focused on prevention and education as well as intervention, treatment, and recovery.
It is way past time for opioid manufacturers to have a stake in the epidemic that has played out in Minnesota over the last decade-plus. This legislation will save lives and I was proud to support it.
The Inspector General at the Department of Human Services, Carolyn Ham, was placed on investigative leave this week. This move came as a result of the OLA report investigating allegations of fraud within the state’s CCAP program.
As you recall from last week’s update, while the report could not substantiate claims that $100 million in fraud was occurring within the program, it did reveal that fraud is likely much higher than the $5-6 million worth that has been prosecuted over the years.
I will continue to fight fraud in all of our public programs, and hold the administration accountable for their failure to protect your hard-earned tax dollars.
I urge House Democrats to take this problem seriously and bring reform legislation to the floor for a vote. We must address this problem this year.
In last week’s update, I discussed legislation I am co-sponsoring that would transfer $20 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and another $20 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to Minnesota’s disaster assistance contingency account. This funding would help communities clean-up from flooding that is all but certain to hit this spring thanks to this winter’s record snowfall.
Late last week, the House unanimously approved legislation to make disaster recovery loans available to farmers whose barns have recently collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, sleet, or ice.
These low interest loans are available to farmers for damage due to high winds, hail, tornado, floods or excessive rainfall or snowfall. These funds are for recovery expenses not covered by insurance. The Disaster Recovery Loan can be used to help clean up, repair, or replace farm structures and septic and water systems, as well as replace seed, other crop inputs, feed, and livestock.
I encourage farmers to reach out to Ryan Robles at the Department of Agriculture if you have any questions regarding eligibility. Robles can be reached by phone at 651-201-6666 or via email at Ryan.email@example.com.
Staying in Touch
Central Lake College President, Hara Charlier, visited my office this week. Thanks for stopping by
to discuss the important role CLC plays in our area!
Staying in Touch
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more for you as the session progresses as it’s sure to be a busy year. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a good weekend,