Friday, March 22, 2019
Longer days seem to mean longer nights at the Capitol – we’ve been working late to make sure we pass measures to protect veterans, provide relief to schools, and end the opioid crisis that’s hurt communities around the state.
Ending the Opioid Crisis
More than 400 Minnesotans died of opioid overdose in 2017, and public officials have been reluctant to make any meaningful change. This is a statewide crisis that has touched nearly everyone in our community in some way.
On Monday I voted for a bill to hold Big Pharma accountable for their role in creating this crisis. Minnesotans shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the tragedy that these companies have inflicted on our communities. The bill would support a wide range of addiction prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies, and passed by a 94-34 vote.
Big Pharma has collected billions in profits over the years without paying a dime to help Minnesotans get treatment or help law enforcement keep our communities safe. It’s time they start contributing to the solution. Holding big corporations accountable is the right thing to do and I am proud to support this bill.
You can read more from MPR here and listen to the astonishing story of the family that profits from the opioid crisis from the New York Times here.
Snow Day Relief
This hasn’t just been a difficult winter for farmers. The record snowfall and freezing temperatures have impacted all of us, especially our teachers and students. School districts have had to make the difficult but responsible decision to call snow days, and I’m proud to say that we passed legislation giving them some flexibility in planning and compensating their employees. Schools will be exempt from making up three of 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 about snow day relief here.
Hmong Cultural Center
On Wednesday Night the Legacy Finance committee heard my bill to fund Hmong performance, cultural heritage, and history grants. It would provide educational experiences, exhibits, programs, and events that celebrate Hmong culture with programs that focus on modern and traditional Hmong music, dance, ceremonial arts, and history.
These young men and women waited long hours to share their stories about the arts program led by community leader Tou SaiKo Lee. We need to fund this movement to not just preserve, but empower and engage generations to come.
Serving those who serve us
As a legislator and vice chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I’m committed to doing everything we can to support the men and women who have risen to the highest level of service to our country.
This week I also had a hearing on my veterans justice bill. It would appropriate money to a program to support, through education, outreach, and legal training, military veterans who are involved with the criminal justice system. This is just one measure I’m working on to make sure our veterans have the support they deserve.
I hope you’re having a great weekend and enjoying the wonderful weather! Please reach out if you have any questions or comments.