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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Huot (DFL)

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Legislative Update- April 17, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Rep. Huot


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you and your family well. We’ve had a busy week at the legislature.

Here’s an update from the Capitol:

Early this week, the House reconvened to pass three bipartisan agreements related to access to affordable insulin and additional COVID-19 response measures.

Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act

The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act is named after a young man named Alec, who lost his life because he was rationing the essential drug due to its outrageous price. The new law, which I support and was signed by Governor Walz on Wednesday, ensures that Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need can access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a co-pay of $35. Eligible Minnesotans include those who are uninsured, under-insured, receiving Medicare and do not have access to low co-pays. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term. Insulin manufacturers would participate in the program and could be fined up to $3.6 million a year, doubling in the second year, for non-compliance. 


Alec Smith Insulin Act Graphics - House Passage


COVID-19 Relief Package Passes

The Legislature approved a 4th package of bills to address COVID-19 daily disruptions to Minnesotans during the pandemic. These focus on policy adjustments to help Minnesotans adapt. Measures passed include additional support to help Minnesotans execute wills, allow local governments to meet remotely, suspend certain deadlines and expiration dates, expand use of telemedicine, allow Minnesotans to apply for marriage licenses during the peacetime emergency without appearing in person, and more. You can read an overview of the legislation from the nonpartisan office of House Public Information.


Takeout Beer & Wine

Additionally, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation today to allow takeout sales of beer and wine from bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill allows bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to sell up to 72 ounces – the equivalent of one six-pack – of beer, cider or hard seltzer and up to 750 milliliters of wine – the equivalent of one bottle – with food orders. The alcoholic beverages must be sold in their original, unopened containers. It’s a small way we can help our restaurants out and I was glad to support the bill.

COVID-19 Modeling

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Public Health made information regarding their COVID-19 modeling available to the public. Data from these models has driven Governor Walz and his administration’s response to the pandemic. The model predicts the peak of the epidemic (when the highest number of people have the condition), how many people that will be, and when we’re projected to exceed ICU bed capacity.

You can find information, including slides from their presentation and frequently asked questions, here.

Recent Executive Action

As I mentioned above, the Governor continues to rely on the latest science, facts, and public health guidelines from various physicians and experts to guide his decision making. As the COVID-19 pandemic turns partisan in nature, and dangerous rhetoric circulates, jeopardizing our progress in slowing the virus, I appreciate the Governor’s steadfast and common-sense style of leadership. We all want to protect our economy, and I’m working hard to help our small business owners, to alleviate the financial strain our businesses are feeling. At the same time, we must ensure we have adequate testing, PPE for our frontline health care workers in the state, and that our workers can stay healthy too.

That said, I’m glad Governor Tim Walz today issued an executive order to expand allowable outdoor recreational activities. The changes will allow Minnesotans to continue to enjoy the outdoors close to home, while following social distancing guidelines.

Under this executive action, facilities that may reopen or remain open include:

  • Bait shops for live bait
  • Outdoor shooting ranges and game farms
  • Public and private parks and trails
  • Golf courses and driving ranges
  • Boating and off-highway vehicle services, including:
    • Marina services
    • Dock installation and other lake services
    • Boat and off-highway vehicle sales and repair, by appointment only


I expect more of these measures to continue as we work together to slow the spread of the virus, and find bipartisan consensus on safely and responsibly reopening various sectors of the economy.

Stay in Touch

Please keep in touch and don’t hesitate to contact me anytime with your input and questions.

Follow me on my official Facebook page for additional, real time updates.

I appreciate hearing from you.