|The final hours of the legislative session are here; we must adjourn by Monday and cannot consider any bills after midnight Sunday night. Many of the questions at the town hall were around topics that unfortunately have yet to see significant action. I share in the frustration with many that partisan forces have stopped critically needed legislation with broad public support.
A shared priority this session was to address the opioid epidemic, which has led to lives lost across the state. We can end this by delivering more resources for education to prevent abuse, treatment for addiction, and help for those in recovery. We can also get first responders greater supplies of Narcan, a key tool to save lives following overdoses. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies have shown virtually no accountability thus far for their role in creating this crisis. They must be brought to the table to be part of the solution, and there are bills to provide for this so they share in the responsibility, not just other taxpayers.
Another bipartisan priority has been to increase safety on the roads by enacting “hands-free” cell phone legislation. Despite broad support from legislators in both parties and over 80 percent of Minnesotans, Republican leadership refuses to schedule the bill for a vote. This week, some colleagues and I tried to force a vote on the bill, but this attempt was defeated on a party-line vote. Distracted driving results in the loss of at least 70 lives in Minnesota every year. There's absolutely no good reason not to pass this bill.
Finally, today we are again tragically reminded of the critical need to pass laws to reduce gun violence. Two pieces of legislation that have been passed in other states, and have worked to prevent this violence, are still tabled. Speaker Daudt has said that they will not be heard.
In these last few hours, I will continue to work for solutions that uphold our values of fairness, while increasing opportunities for Minnesotans to succeed and prosper in safe and healthy communities.
Tragedy in Texas
It was with great sadness that I rose on the floor today to ask for a moment of silence for the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting. This was the 22nd school shooting thus far in 2018. When our children go to school, they deserve to learn in a safe environment free of the fear these events bring. I am working in solidarity with others to pass laws that can reduce gun violence; no more flags at half mast because of tragedies that we can prevent.
I shared some brief remarks and requested a moment of silence on the House Floor today.