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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- February 8, 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
I hope you’re having a good and safe week! Here in the House, we’re advancing lots of good, bipartisan proposals to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. Here are a couple of examples.
Minnesota’s Renewable Energy
This past week saw some exciting advances in efforts to tackle climate change. As Minnesotans, we are lucky to live in such a beautiful state, with so many national parks and bodies of water to enjoy. But, our weather is becoming more extreme, and we are starting to experience irreversible damage to our state’s climate. We need to make changes soon if we want to prevent further damage. This is why bills like HF 700 are important. The bill was heard for the first time on Tuesday, and it is starting to move through committees. If passed, it would increase the proportion of energy that must come from renewable sources and set target dates for when these goals need to be achieved by power companies. Minnesota is blessed with many renewable resources, and investing in them would create jobs and slow down climate change. This is just the first of several bills I expect will focus on climate change this year.
The Star Tribune wrote an article with visuals of how policy changes such as these would help to save our forests. Read it here.
Updates on the Opioid Crisis
As the opioid crisis continues throughout our state, I’m working with legislators from both parties to find a solution. Minnesotans expect us to address overdose prevention, and to hold Big Pharma accountable as we work to end this epidemic.
As opioid legislation continues to move through committees, I am hopeful that we can make positive change this session. One bipartisan bill discussed this week was HF 400which would form an advisory council and deliver funding toward social services and prevention efforts. While this does not solve all of the problems associated with the opioid epidemic, it takes significant steps forward in bringing forward important solutions.
Aside from preventing more deaths, this legislation could have very positive impacts on the well-being of children. Many children are born addicted to drugs because their pregnant mothers were, and they end up in foster care the moment they are born. Other children may watch the lives of their parents be taken over by opioids. Both of these situations have devastating impacts on the development of children, and an enormous strain on the foster care system and child protection services. You can hear my comments from committee on the firsthand experience I’ve witnessed with opioid abuse in my profession as a prosecutor.

Bottom line: Finding a solution to this crisis is urgent, and I am working hard with anyone and everyone to get the job done.
Keep in Touch
Please never hesitate to share your viewpoints, concerns and questions. I appreciate you input!
Zack Stephenson
State Representative