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

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Legislative Update - July 26, 2019

Friday, July 26, 2019

Dear Neighbors,
I hope you are enjoying your summer. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet new University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel. We have much to look forward to under her new leadership.

Yesterday was National Intern Day, and I want to acknowledge my stellar intern, Rahul.
Rahul joined my office this summer after finishing his first year at Carleton studying Political Science. He is such a joy to work with, and it's essential to have the perspective of a bright young student as I work on Higher Ed and Clean Energy policy.

Thank you, Rahul!
Next Thursday, August 1, several new laws approved during the 2019 legislative session take effect. Among these is the “Hands-Free” bill, requiring any use of a mobile device while driving to be in hands-free mode. Distracted driving plays a role in one out of five crashes. As Minnesotans, we have a responsibility to put our attention fully on the road.
The state Office of Traffic Safety has launched with plenty of resources on this upcoming change, including frequently asked questions and fact sheets in four different languages. Let’s all commit to practicing safe driving behaviors ahead of the new law.

Climate Change Forum

Harmful impacts of climate change are taking hold, and time is running out to stop irreversible damage to our planet. In Minnesota, we can take action through reduced reliance on fossil fuels, advances in energy efficiencies, innovations in clean, renewable energy sources, and more.
Join us next Tuesday, July 30 for “a Community Conversation on Climate Change: Next Steps for Clean Energy.” The event will take place at the Eden Prairie Community Center from 7 – 8:30 p.m. I’m hosting this event to give all of us an opportunity to join with our neighbors to discuss how we can work together to protect our state’s beautiful parks, forests, and natural resources.
We will be joined by community leaders including Rep. Patty Acomb (who represents the northern part of Minnetonka and Plymouth) to discuss her "Solar for Schools" legislation, as well as Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case, Minnetonka City Councilmember Deb Calvert, and Eden Prairie City Councilmember PG Narayanan.
WHAT: A Community Conversation on Climate Change: Next Steps for Clean Energy
WHEN: Tuesday, July 30th from 7 - 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Cambria Room, Eden Prairie Community Center, 16700 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
WHO: Rep. Laurie Pryor, local leaders, interested members of the community
The event is nonpartisan, free to attend, and everyone in the community is welcome. Feel free to RSVP on Facebook here, and invite your friends and neighbors to join. This is a conversation important to our state’s future, and I hope to see you there.
Here are recaps on a few more topics from the 2019 legislative session.


This session we took action to address invasive species, chronic wasting disease, promote pollinator habitat, and more to keep our environment and proud outdoor heritage healthy. Minnesotans of all ages are also asking the Legislature to confront climate change, which is impacting our state at one of the fastest rates in the nation. I was especially impressed by motivated youth urging lawmakers to address this critical problem. If we don’t act, Minnesota’s agricultural, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries are all at risk. The young people advocating for solutions will be left to deal with these consequences if we don’t act.
The House approved a plan that gets Minnesota to 100% clean energy by 2050. Unfortunately, the Senate did not act and it did not become law. Too much is at stake for current and future generations, and inaction is not an option.
Since the session adjourned, I’ve heard from many constituents with concerns over the permitting of the PolyMet mining project in northern Minnesota. We need a clear understanding of whether input from the federal Environmental Protection Agency was fully taken into account when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a permit in December. I’ve joined other legislators in asking the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor to review the situation.
Minnesotans who enjoy clean water deserve to have full confidence this project can meet the most rigorous environmental, safety, and financial standards. They also deserve full transparency, and I await the Legislative Auditor’s findings.

Public Safety/Judiciary

Our Public Safety and Judiciary budget this session included $125 million in new investments in the courts, correctional facilities, criminal apprehension, human rights protections and many other areas to keep Minnesotans safe and ensure they have access to justice. I’m also proud of the way in which we lifted up voices of victims and survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, and were successful in including a number of key provisions in the budget to ensure justice for such heinous, unimaginable crimes. These included creation of a new task force on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, a workgroup to examine the state’s entire criminal sexual conduct statutes, elimination of the nonconsensual buttocks touching exemption from the criminal sexual conduct law and others.
I remain disappointed in the lack of action to address senseless gun violence. The House approved two common-sense measures: criminal background checks and “red flag” laws, however, Senate Republicans stood with the NRA to block them. Minnesotans deserve to be safe at school, at work, while worshiping, or anywhere else in their communities, and I continue to hear from people in the community how important this issue is. We are not giving up this fight.

Opioid Stewardship

Action to address our state’s opioid epidemic was a bipartisan victory this session. We delivered new resources to comprehensively respond to this crisis, while holding Big Pharma accountable. The new opioid stewardship law establishes new registration fees on manufacturers and distributors to raise approximately $21 million annually for an Opiate Epidemic Response Account. An advisory committee will be tasked with making grant recommendations to the Department of Health for prevention strategies to reduce the number of senseless deaths and overdoses.
Many of the remaining resources will be appropriated to Minnesota counties to reimburse them for significant child protection costs as a result of families being impacted by the opioid crisis. In 2016, parental drug use surpassed neglect as the most common reason for new out-of-home placements for the first time. At 29 percent, this trend continued in 2017, almost doubling since 2013. The bill also included funding for state drug labs and trafficking enforcement efforts, reforms to drug prescribing practices, and greater supplies of lifesaving Naloxone (Narcan) for first responders.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.
Laurie Pryor
State Representative