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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Barrett (R)

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Legislative Update

Friday, May 13, 2016

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Speaking to the press about my bill to combat Minnesota's opioid crisis on Friday, May 13th.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Friday, the House passed my bipartisan bill 129-0 to allow Minnesota pharmacies to voluntarily take back unused and expired prescription drugs and controlled substances. When people are able to drop off unneeded or expired medication at their neighborhood pharmacy, it's less likely that they will be sold for profit or used illegally with dangerous consequences.

With over 19,000 deaths each year in the United States from opioid overdoses, I believe this step will help combat abuse of these drugs, which can also lead to later abuse of harder drugs like Heroin. This continues to be a crisis of monumental proportions for people in Chisago County and communities across Minnesota, and I want to help families affected by prescription drug addiction.

Additionally, I also offered an amendment to my bill that affords pharmacies additional opportunities to dispense Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. This medication saves lives, and by making it more readily available in Minnesota, I hope to prevent tragic and unnecessary deaths from overdose.

With constant vigilance and attention to this health crisis, we can reduce drug abuse and the related societal and financial costs which affect our community. I am pleased that the House passed my legislation, and I am hopeful it will soon be signed by Governor Dayton.

The Star Tribune did a story about the growing number of opioid deaths and I'm quoted in the story. You can read it here.

You can also see my House floor speech on my bill here.

No New Gas Tax

Governor Dayton has informed House Republicans that he plans to introduce what he believes will be a compromise transportation plan soon. House Republicans stood together in a press conference on Friday to tell the governor that any plan he comes up with must not include a harmful gas tax increase.

Minnesotans overwhelmingly oppose a gas tax increase, as do people in Chisago County according to my recent legislative survey. Seventy-seven percent of the people who took my survey opposed Governor Dayton's wholesale gas tax increase, as it would be especially costly for families and people who have long commutes to and from work each day.

I look forward to finishing our work by the May 23 deadline, and am hopeful that any compromise plan Governor Dayton releases next week will consider the position of a majority of Minnesotans who oppose a new gas tax and not government special interests. We can invest in our roads and bridges without raising hundreds of millions or more in new taxes.




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