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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - March 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019

This week I had a hearing in the Jobs committee on HF 975, a bill to expand services of the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing. The Commission serves as the principal agency of the state to advocate on behalf of Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, and hard-of-hearing by working to ensure those persons have equal access to the services, programs, and opportunities available to others.

Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable
Alec Smith was a 26-year-old from Minnesota who died in 2017 because he couldn’t afford $1,200 each month for the insulin he needed to survive. A drug that has been around since the 1920s, and costs less than $5 per vile to produce, should not be out of reach for Minnesotans who depend on it. The DFL caucus has a comprehensive plan to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable and put more power in the hands of Minnesotans.
It’s one of the strongest proposals to address the rising cost of prescription drugs in the country. It increases transparency for drug manufacturers, improves public scrutiny of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), leverages the State of Minnesota’s purchasing power to cut health care costs. You can learn more about it from MPR here, and WCCO here.

Snow Days 

This week the House and Senate approved -- with broad bipartisan support -- relief for our schools. This winter was hard on all of us, but teachers and students in particular. This week we sent a bill to the Governor that allows schools an exemption from adding days to the calendar to make up for the Polar Vortex days. We also included provisions to enable hourly employees who weren’t paid on those days to make up that lost time. You can read more here.

Accessible Education
There was an inspirational evening of testimony hearing from these phenomenal high school students on ways we can increase access and breakdown barriers for students to pursue post-secondary education options (PSEO) to achieve college credits in high school. As a former PSEO student it is exciting to see how these students are advocating to ensure students are aware of the program and have additional transportation support.

Constituent Shout-Out
I can’t express enough how grateful I am for all the constituents and neighbors of ours who contact me or come to the Capitol to help me share their story in order to make our state work better for everyone. Here are a few highlights from the past week.


Meeting with a constituent to discuss healthcare and the provider tax.

I always enjoy meeting with constituents sharing union stories. I grew up in a union family and will always remember those roots.

Met with a constituent from the district who brought along a friend from District 32A to advocate for funding for the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing. Having studied American Sign Language (ASL) in college we communicated through ASL. 

It’s inspiring to hear the stories of youth that have overcome hardships to pursue post-secondary options. I had a great talk about working to remove barriers to college for students in private and public colleges.

This week I connected with energy professionals on HF 2218. a bill related to equity in the energy sector. The bill would require reporting on workforce outcomes and contracting with small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses owned by people with disabilities. It’s an exciting time in the energy sector and there’s momentum to convene to explore pathways to employment and contracting for underrepresented groups.

This week I met with some of our youngest constituents! I was so impressed. They advocated for art to be available every day in school. We also talked about law enforcement training, kids being safe in school, and ice cream at Peterson’s. 

I enjoyed talking with constituents on AFSCME Day at the Capitol. I had the chance to talk about topics from education to healthcare. The highlights of my days are the opportunities I get to connect with neighbors.

Have a wonderful weekend, and let me know if you have any questions!
Ruth Richardson
District 52 B – Mendota Heights