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

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Legislative Update- May 17, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
Negotiations between the House, Senate and Governor are ongoing with 72 hours until we must constitutionally adjourn. I’m optimistic we can find common ground to put forward a strong and fiscally responsible state budget for Minnesotans. Here’s an update from the Capitol:

Conference Committees

House/Senate conference committees continue their work to reconcile policy and fiscal differences within the bills. Without budget ‘targets’ this has proven to be difficult, but nonetheless the House is working hard to use every minute wisely.
I’m pleased to share the Education conference committee incorporated my bill into the education budget. The legislation would require a school district to screen students for dyslexia before the end of kindergarten and by the beginning of second grade. When reading challenges occur, oftentimes families can’t afford to have their kids screened. Enabling school districts to have this tool ensures all kids are counted and that they can be successful in the classroom.
Thank you to these amazing Education Chairs Nelson, Davnie and Youakim for being Dyslexia champions at the Capitol.

Tobacco 21

Senator Nelson and I recently joined kids, physicians and advocates to make an impassioned plea for the Legislature to pass Tobacco 21 this year. Raising the tobacco age to 21 in Minnesota will protect youth from commercial tobacco, especially as the nation faces an epidemic of teen e-cigarette addiction. I’m hopeful this could cross the finish line this year!

Gun Violence Prevention Update

The Public Safety House/Senate conference committee discussed this week two gun violence prevention bills. One 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.
This second measure is especially important as we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Over the 20 years we've had red flag laws in the U.S., they've been a proven tool for suicide prevention. In the years after Indiana passed a similar law, they saw almost an 8% drop in firearm suicides. 
Although law enforcement testified at the hearing in support of these common sense, life saving measures, including Bloomington Police Chief Potts, both bills were voted down. I'm committed to continuing the important work on gun violence prevention.
Bloomington Police Chief Potts testifies with bill author Rep. Ruth Richardson

Protecting Minnesotans from Harmful Chemicals

Another bill that passed this week is an expansion of the 2015 flame retardant ban. The bill was sponsored by my colleague, Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, and would phase out the use of a whole class of flame-retardant chemicals that have been deemed unnecessary to protecting Minnesotans against fire. There has been evidence of the chemicals getting into dust in homes or contaminating water, and studies have linked flame-retardant chemicals to health problems in humans and animals, including developmental and reproductive issues. This bill was approved with overwhelming support in the House.

Keeping Minnesota Elders Safe

Last week, we approved a package of strong reforms protecting seniors against abuse, neglect, assault, and other maltreatment in Minnesota assisted living facilities. Read more here.
When they move to an assisted living facility, our aging parents, grandparents, relatives, and neighbors deserve the care they need to live with dignity and safety. These protections are long overdue and will improve security and quality of life for our loved ones.
Thankful to Father Kevin from Our Lady of Grace for giving the opening prayer at yesterday's session.

Keep in Touch

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or to let me know if I can be of any assistance.

It’s an honor to represent you at the Capitol!
Heather Edelson
State Representative