Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Memorial Day ceremony in Eden Prairie. It was a moving event giving those of us in attendance an opportunity to reflect on service and sacrifice. In addition to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the event recognized veterans and active duty service members.
While there, Sen. Steve Cwodzinski and I visited with Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen. We discussed a bipartisan success from this past legislative session which was a breakthrough regarding the recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and others. Previously, if one of these first responders experienced PTSD, they would often run into roadblocks to attaining workers compensation awards.
Under the legislation we passed this session, PTSD will now be recognized as an “occupational disease” resulting from traumatic experiences that first responders have in the course of their work. These valued members of our community witness some of life's most horrific events. It’s critically important that they have the ability to get the help they need when they need it, and the whole purpose of workers compensation is to ensure just that.
We discussed another success in the session: a sweeping, bipartisan package of public pension reforms. Passing the pension bill was critical to the economic security of many Minnesotans including teachers, law enforcement personnel, and corrections officers. Taxpayers are also protected by the bill, which cuts the state’s long-term liability about in half and will likely make the system sound into the 2040s. This avoids the potential for Minnesota joining other states facing a fiscal crisis due to unresolved pension obligations.
Included in the package were also changes sought by the city of Eden Prairie and our volunteer firefighters to help recruitment and retention. It was great working with Chief Ebensen on this measure and I look forward to continued partnership to keep our community safe.
TOWN HALL MEETING
Please join me for a town hall meeting Saturday, June 16th to further discuss the outcome of the recently concluded legislative session. We will meet at 9:30 a.m. at Glen Lake Activity Center, (14350 Excelsior Blvd.) in Minnetonka. As I noted above, there were some bipartisan accomplishments, but unfortunately, many missed opportunities as well. I look forward to a good discussion among neighbors regarding the future direction for our state.
I hope that you continue to contact me with your viewpoints or if I can ever be of assistance. It’s an honor to represent you.