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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Robert Bierman (DFL)

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Legislative Update- NRA Brings their Lobbyist to St. Paul

Friday, May 17, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
We’re in the final days of the legislative session, with a constitutional deadline to adjourn by Monday night at midnight. Leaders of the House and Senate along with Governor Walz are working to come to an overall agreement on the state budget, conference committees for each area of the budget are continuing to work through aligning their bills. Here are a few updates:

Elder Care Protections

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.

Health Care

On Wednesday, a conference committee focused on improving the oversight of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) finished its work on a bill that takes bold action to reduce soaring prescription drug costs. The legislation would crack down on Pharmacy Benefit Managers, which act as a “middle man” between drug manufacturers and pharmacies. Drug manufacturers give PBMs rebates to encourage the PBM to place their product on the formulary, with no guarantee that the rebate will be passed on to consumers. Higher rebates are an incentive for PBMs not to consider less expensive drugs, and they encourage companies to raise list prices. All of this raises the price of prescription drugs for Minnesotans.
The bill was passed by the Senate and the House on a bipartisan vote, and is headed to the Governor’s desk. Once enacted into law, the bill will improve transparency and accountability, and require PBMs to look out for the financial interests of patients by seeking out deals that provide the lowest price.
This is one step in making health care more affordable for Minnesotans, and I was proud to support it. You can read more about the bill and its passage here.
I was proud to stand with Minnesotans fighting to keep their health care at the Care Not Cuts Rally.

NRA Brings their Lobbyist to St. Paul

This week the Public Safety conference committee discussed two gun violence prevention measures. One would expand criminal background checks prior to gun sales, and another would provide for “red flag” laws which would allow law enforcement officials to temporarily restrict access to firearms if a court of law determines an individual may be a threat to themselves or others.
I appreciate the advocacy of my colleagues Reps. Pinto and Richardson who sponsored these common-sense gun violence prevention bills. During the committee’s discussion there were opportunities for two testifiers: the House DFL conferees chose law enforcement and the Senate Republican conferees brought in an NRA lobbyist. Ultimately Republicans on the committee sided with the NRA over Minnesota law enforcement officials, voting down the House’s two provisions. This should not be a partisan issue.
As recent polling has indicated, there is broad support in Minnesota for these gun violence prevention bills, including from gun-owners. Additionally Republican legislatures in several other states have passed similar measures. I am very disappointed by the party-line vote, but I am hopeful that similar common-sense solutions to gun violence prevention will be addressed again soon. You can read more about the measures here.

Legislative Updates Now Available in Non-English Languages

The House DFL Majority is committed to improving everyone’s accessibility to the Legislature, no matter where you live, or what language you speak. That’s why we’re proud to announce that weekly legislative updates are now available for non-English speakers.
Please consider sharing this news with your friends and neighbors who would appreciate receiving a weekly update in Spanish, Somali, or Hmong languages.
Links to subscribe to legislative updates in non-English languages are available below:
Click here to sign up for Somali language e-updates.
Click here to sign up for Hmong language e-updates.
Click here to sign up for Spanish language e-updates.
Robert Bierman
State Representative
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