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

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Legislative Update- May 9, 2020

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Rep. Stephenson

 

Dear Neighbors,

I am pleased to report the House passed my COVID-19 economic security legislation. My bill includes measures for emergency housing assistance for homeowners, renters, and landlords, an overdue wage increase for personal care assistants, funding to expand broadband access, and my legislation to help our smallest mom and pop businesses. You can watch my remarks on the bill here.

This relief package helps get to the heart of what Minnesotans expect and deserve during a global pandemic: a roof over our heads; economic security for those who take care of the most vulnerable in our society; basic internet access; and support for our smallest businesses who haven’t been able to tap into federal relief funds. The funding for this package would come from the state’s $1.87 billion share of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, if available.

 

House Economic Agenda


 

Drug Pricing Transparency Act

I also today voted to support a bill that addresses the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. The Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency Act requires price transparency for three categories of drugs: existing drugs, new drugs and newly acquired drugs. Manufacturers would be required to report drug pricing information for drugs that exceed certain thresholds or increase by a certain percentage over a 12 or 24-month period. The Minnesota Department of Health would post this information on a public website in an easily accessible and clear format. Drug manufacturers are currently not subject to the same price transparency regulation as hospitals, providers and health plans.

Bottom line: prescription drugs don’t work if they aren’t affordable. We have more to do to bring down these prices, but this is a positive step forward for Minnesota.


Long-Term Care Strategy for our Senior Citizens

Our nursing homes and other congregate care settings have been among those impacted the worst by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone living and working in these facilities deserves to be safe and healthy, and they deserve to know we support them in our efforts to keep the virus at bay.

This week, Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Jan Malcolm released a new five-point plan to provide more robust support to our state’s long-term care facilities. The plan’s five points are: expanded testing for residents and workers; providing testing support and troubleshooting; getting needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to facilities; ensuring adequate staffing levels, and leveraging partnerships with local public health officials.


Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out with questions or input.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Mother’s Day.

Sincerely,

Zack Stephenson

State Representative

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