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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL)

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Legislative Update - May 4, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Recently on the House Floor, we celebrated Arbor Day. As part of an annual tradition, several of my colleagues presented each of us with a Red Pine. The Red Pine, sometimes referred to as a Norway Pine, is Minnesota’s State Tree and can live several hundred years and reach well over 100 feet tall.

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With trees lasting over the course of many generations, this can serve as a good reminder to legislators that the decisions we make can have long ranging effects.

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The best part of this job continues to be meeting with constituents. Kim Moore and Britni Waters, both nurse practitioners, recently stopped by the Capitol.

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Transit Cuts

Yesterday, I stood with my DFL colleagues in opposition to short-sighted Republican attacks on transit services. These include a 10 percent cut to local bus service, a ban on continued planning of the Southwest and Bottineau LRT lines, and micromanaging communities as they look to plan future transit projects. These policies will harm many Minnesotans who rely on dependable bus, light rail, and commuter rail service to get to work, school, the grocery store, and appointments. Not only do the Republicans look to cut existing services, they also are seeking to halt construction of the Southwest LRT line.

According to a Star Tribune poll, a majority of Minnesotans from around the state support construction of this key corridor. To accommodate future growth in our region, it’s absolutely critical that we are forward thinking when it comes to transit improvements, and SWLRT is critical toward this goal.

Internet Privacy

As you may have heard, the U.S. Congress and President Trump recently sold out the data privacy of Americans to big internet service providers by repealing rules regulating what they can do with this sensitive data, and to whom they can sell it. Almost a month ago, nearly unanimously, both chambers of the state legislature fought back by passing amendments to the Jobs and Energy bill limiting what the ISPs can do with this data.

With such broad, bipartisan support, I was shocked to learn that these protections were dropped during House/Senate conference committee negotiations to the bill. This is an example of what happens when decisions are made behind closed doors and out of public view.


This week on the House Floor, my colleagues and I attempted to provide enhanced funding to the Minnesota Department of Health to address the current measles outbreak. The bill we were hoping to discuss would have funded an immunization grant program for specific geographic areas and populations experiencing (or at risk of) an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Unfortunately, the House Republicans shut down this effort.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and in rare cases death. It spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing. You can get measles by just being in the same room as someone who is sick. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a rash that typically spreads from head to the rest of the body. A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before their rash appears to four days after it appears.

For parents concerned about the cost of immunizations, the Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program provides free or low-cost vaccines for eligible children through age 18. More information is available at Can My Child Get Free or Low Cost Shots? For more information on measles, updates on the outbreak and important contact info you can go to the Minnesota Department of Health website here. You can also find a Measles fact sheet translated in other languages here.

Small Business Week

The first week of May is Small Business Week. The Minnesota Department of Revenue recently launched a Business Center, which conveniently makes available business tax information and resources for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes. Some features include:

There are under three weeks remaining in the session. With such a short time left, I hope you will reach out with your feedback. Please call me at the Capitol or email me any time with your comments, input, or if I can ever be of assistance.


Laurie Pryor

State Representative