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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL)

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New Laws

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Dear Neighbor,

I hope you are having a fantastic summer, the weather has been perfect for getting out and enjoying all our Minnesota has to offer!

This will be one of my last updates until after the November election. Due to our campaign laws, Legislators are not allowed to send email updates 60 days after the end of session. Even though I won’t be sending any more email updates you can still follow me on Facebook to stay informed. My office is also open and I encourage you to reach out if you think I can be a help in any way.

New Laws Take Effect

Several laws we passed this session went into effect July 1, and you can find a comprehensive list here. Perhaps the most prominent is a law which will allow Minnesotans to purchase edibles and beverages containing 5mg of THC derived from hemp. Before this legislation was signed into law, the state of Minnesota had little to no regulatory framework. Products targeting youth quickly proliferated across the state, often with colorful advertising/packaging and candy-like products with non-childproofed containers. You could already buy products with small amounts of one form of THC in local stores in our community that sell legal CBD products. The new law adds necessary guardrails to protect kids, while allowing adults over 21 to purchase products with low levels of THC.

I believe that we need to fully regulate recreational use of THC developed from hemp and cannabis so we can end the black market economy, regulate these products safely, and allow Minnesotans to purchase the products they want. This law is an important step in that direction and I will continue to advocate for more comprehensive laws in the future.

Reminder: Frontline Workers Can Apply for Bonus Pay
Bonus payments are available for frontline workers who kept our state running during the darkest days of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who faced elevated risks of exposure to COVID-19 are eligible, including health care workers, first responders, child care providers, food service workers, and retail workers. You can view eligibility information and apply for bonus pay at Applications will be accepted until Friday, July 22. 

National Night Out/Night to Unite
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 2, 2022 from 5-9pm for National Night out/Night to Unite. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors and create community. I’m planning to visit as many neighborhood gatherings in Bloomington as I can. If you’d like me to add your block party to my list, drop me a note with the time and address. I won’t be able to attend all of them, but I’ll try to squeeze in as many as I can.

Citizens Police Academy

I have once again enrolled in the Bloomington Citizens Police Academy this fall (it was canceled the last two years on account of Covid-19). I’m taking the class to become better informed about law enforcement issues from the peace officer perspective. 

Drug Prices

The Star Tribune published an interesting  editorial on Monday about Mark Cuban’s new non-profit “Cost Plus” discount drug sales program. The cost of drugs is an issue that I spend a lot of time on. I had a bill this past session that would require the drug companies to publish their prices so that everyone could see how outrageous the prices of brand-name drugs are. (This bill was included in the House Health  & Human Services Omnibus bill which died in the end-of-session debacle, but I’ll bring it back, again, next year). Ultimately, Congress will have to address this issue through drug patent law reform and by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers – the states are preempted from taking such action. 

I’m also drafting a bill that would require Health Plans and Pharmacy Benefit Managers to pass the rebates that they receive from Drug Manufacturers directly to the patients who are taking the drugs (instead of retaining the rebates for themselves). Some of the letters to the editor that were published on Wednesday in response to this editorial were ill-informed, but if you really want to understand just how badly the prescription drug market works, today, I would recommend reading the Pew report “The Prescription Drug Landscape, Explored”. While it is easy to point fingers at individual players in this market like the Manufacturers or the Pharmacy Benefit Managers, the real problem is how they interact with each other – this industry has middlemen between the middlemen!

Keep in Touch

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well. 

Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol. 


Steve Elkins
Representative, District 49B
Minnesota House of Representatives

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