There are just a few days left to finish our work, so I’m preparing for a busy weekend here at the Capitol! Here’s an update on the progress that my colleagues and I have made this week:
Legacy Conference Committee
In the Legacy Conference Committee, my colleagues and I are working across the aisle to support the outdoors and the arts across Minnesota. During our first public hearing yesterday, we compared funding plans that were approved in the House and the Senate.
Legacy Amendment revenue is split between four funds, and the House and Senate plans for two of them – the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Parks and Trails fund – are largely identical. The proposals for the Clean Water Fund and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund also have some things in common, but there are differences that need to be resolved.
The House version includes efforts to protect water quality and prevent contamination of drinking water sources that the Senate bill doesn’t. It also funds the Forever Green Initiative, which develops new crops that restore water and soil quality, at a much higher level. In addition, some arts and cultural programs that receive funding in the House bill don’t in the Senate one and vice versa. If you’d like more details about what’s included in each, you can read this article from Session Daily or compare the bills yourself here.
Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs
I’ve been reading responses to my legislative survey throughout the week, and I found that the high cost of health care is a concern for many people in our community. One way we can make health care more affordable is lowering the cost of prescription drugs. This week, the House passed legislation to require licensing and transparency from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical middle men who can take kickbacks from drug manufacturers. There’s little oversight for PBMs, so nothing is stopping them from secretly advocating for higher costs to increase their own profits.
I voted in favor of this bill because we shouldn’t be letting pharmaceutical corporations and PBMs conspire to raise the cost of medications that Minnesotans need to stay healthy. The legislation went to conference committee after passing the Senate and is now on its way to the Governor to be signed!
WCCO recently aired a special report about cancer rates in the area around Water Gremlin. Thank you to the community members who shared their stories! I’m working on banning TCE so that other Minnesotans won’t be exposed to this carcinogenic chemical in their communities. Please stay tuned for updates.
A video of the special report is available here.
Many thanks to all of you who shared your opinions, concerns, and stories in response to my legislative survey! I always appreciate hearing from my fellow community members, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact me at email@example.com or 651-296-3018.