Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week has been filled with a number of local and statewide events. Here are a few of the stops I’ve been able to make.
ADDRESSING WORKFORCE SHORTAGE
Recently I attended Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development’s launch event for the new statewide workforce center brand and technology platform called CareerForce.
As a member of the Jobs and Economic Development Committee and a newly appointed member to the Governor's Workforce Development Board, I am actively engaged with DEED as it is the state agency responsible for implementing our strategies to address our workforce shortages. I'm hopeful that this new direction will enhance their relationships with employers and that the technology platform will accelerate job seekers' connections to available careers.
You can learn more by clicking here.
MARIJUANA IN THE WORKPLACE
This week at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing, a forum was held providing information for area employers to learn more about both our state’s medicinal marijuana program and the proposed legislation about legalizing recreational marijuana.
Eleven states and Washington, DC have already legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over age 21. The use of medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, including Minnesota. Even though recreational use is currently illegal in Minnesota and Wisconsin, employers must make sure they understand the rights of their employees while keeping their workplaces safe now and in the future.
At the event, I spoke against the legalization of recreational marijuana.
We have many more questions than answers about the impact to our employers, our kids, and our communities.
It doesn't make sense to me that while we are struggling to stem the opioid crisis and address the new "vaping" fad that is causing permanent lung damage and in some cases death to young people, that we would legalize another drug.
Further, there isn't a test right now to know if someone is impaired while at work versus if they have used marijuana recently, and there’s no consensus on the length of time someone should refrain from using marijuana before doing "safety sensitive" work - think manufacturing, trucking, hospitals, or public safety jobs.
Minnesota is already struggling to keep up with the financial burdens and trajectory of growth of our current public health programs. When looking at experiences from other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, you’ll find increased traffic accidents, emergency room visits, mental health needs including psychotic episodes, child protection cases, and high school dropout rates.
In short, we need to understand more about marijuana impairment in order to keep our work sites safe.
On Thursday, I took part in a conference call with leadership in the Minnesota Senate to discuss plans to assist Minnesotans who are struggling with the high costs of insulin. The Senate has unveiled a plan to address the problem, which you can review here.
I continue to hear from a number of our neighbors about the high costs of insulin. Residents should know I am working on this problem, and will continue to partner with legislative leaders in working towards a solution by January.
I was pleased to attend a reception at the Anderson Center Barn in Red Wing to hear about the progress and impact that SPARKZ! is making for area students.
SPARKZ! is a two-week summer experiential learning program driven by six amazing teachers, serving 55 kids identified by teachers as needing "a spark" to more fully engage in their high school education.
The nonprofits who fund this program and the teachers who run it are doing amazing work!
Frontenac is holding a 160 year celebration complete with civil war encampments, tours, antique road show, trading posts, and lots of other family focused activities. For more info, click here.
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.