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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL)

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Legislative Update- Saturday Edition

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
 
I’m sending an update this Saturday from the Capitol as state budget negotiations are ongoing between the Senate, House and Governor. The Legislature must adjourn constitutionally by May 20 at midnight.
 
Amid discussions around a compromise, the House has been working to pass significant legislation to improve the health and safety of Minnesotans. ‘Almanac at the Capitol’ features a segment related to some of this work, primarily championed by first-term legislators. You can check it out here at minute marker 34:41.
 
Here’s an update on some of these measures:
 

Lowering Prescription Drug Prices

I’m pleased to share that a bipartisan solution has been reached with the Senate to lower drug prices by regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). In their role, PBMs develop and maintain lists of covered drugs (formularies) that they offer to pharmacies, while drug manufacturers give PBMs rebates to encourage the PBM to place their product on the formulary. This is done with no guarantee that the rebate will be passed on to consumers. These rebates or ‘kickbacks’ give PBMs an incentive to remove less expensive drugs from formularies, and encourage companies to raise list prices.
 
Currently, PBMs can switch drugs whenever they can get a higher rebate – sometimes several times a year – which means doctors have to change patients’ prescriptions to medications that are more expensive, and often less effective. The bill would give the Minnesota Department of Commerce licensing authority over PBMs, requires them to notify health carriers whenever an activity presents a conflict of interest, and to look out for the financial interests of their customers by seeking out deals that provide the lowest price.
 
This bill is on its way to Governor Walz for his expected signature.
The Doctor Caucus finalizing details on the PBM legislation: Senator Klein, Senator Jensen, Representative Mann, and myself.

Gun Violence Prevention Halted

The House/Senate Public Safety Committee brought forward two gun violence prevention measures that the House approved last month. The first would expand criminal background checks prior to gun sales. The second would provide for “red flag” laws, which would allow law enforcement officials to temporarily restrict access to firearms if a court of law determines a person may be a threat to themselves or others. The House/Senate conference committee is made up of five Democrats and 5 Republicans, and without a majority vote, both measures failed to be incorporated into the Public Safety budget.
 
I’m very disappointed with this vote, especially with the compelling and supportive expert testimony we heard from law enforcement. I’m committed to continuing the work on these common sense safety measures Minnesotans are asking us to address.     
 

Constituent Spotlight

I recently had a great meeting with Excelsior Elementary School Principal Stacy DeCorsey! We talked about the joys and challenges facing educators today. And she brought a copy of her wonderful children’s book “Lessons from the Coop!”

Keep in Touch

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, input, or concerns. I appreciate hearing from you.
 
Have a great weekend.
 
Sincerely,
Kelly