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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- February 4, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you well. Here are a couple of updates from St. Paul.

Senate District 49 Town Hall Meeting Rescheduled

Our town hall meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 14 from 7-8 p.m. at Edina City Hall. I’ll be there along with Sen. Franzen and Rep. Elkins. Listening to your questions, concerns and input helps guide my work at the Capitol. I’d love to see you!

Addressing Youth Tobacco Use

Following suit of Edina, I’ve proposed bipartisan legislation that would raise the tobacco age to 21 statewide (House File 331).

Smoking rates in Minnesota had been declining for decades, but for the first time in a generation youth tobacco use has increased. In particular, youth and young adult e-cigarette rates have skyrocketed, and today about one in five Minnesota high-schoolers and young adults (18-24-year-olds) uses e-cigarettes such as JUUL. E-cigarettes are threatening the health of Minnesota teens, driving an increase in youth tobacco use that the U.S. Surgeon General has called an epidemic.

I’m committed to improving public health and working toward a smoke-free generation in Minnesota. Raising the tobacco age to 21 will reduce youth smoking and save lives. In the face of a youth nicotine epidemic, this is a good step forward.

Updates on the Opioid Crisis

As the opioid crisis continues to cause tragedies throughout the communities in our state, I am committed to working with legislators to find a solution. Too many Minnesotans’ lives have been touched by the harmful effects of this epidemic, and many are struggling with the high costs of health care as a result.

My colleague Rep. Liz Olson of Duluth introduced legislation to establish an Opioid Stewardship Advisory Council to deliver grants focusing on education, intervention, treatment, training, and prevention strategies. If this bill were to pass, it could save the lives of hundreds each year. In 2016, almost 400 people died as a result of opioid overdose, and since then the number has increased at alarming rates. Finding a solution to this crisis is urgent, and Minnesotans expect the Legislature to take action.

Gender-Based Violence Prevention Week

Last week, the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Committee, of which I’m the Vice-Chair, launched the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Week. This announcement occurred at the start of a week to recognize that the committee would be hearing many bills related to sexual assault and gender-based violence. The bills included: providing training for law enforcement on investigations of sexual assault, ending the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women endemic, repeal of the “marital rape” exception and other initiatives as part of a comprehensive effort to end gender-based violence.

Keep in touch and never hesitate to contact me with questions, comments or feedback. I appreciate hearing from you!


Heather Edelson
State Representative