On Wednesday, the House voted on and approved legislation that creates an emergency insulin assistance program.
The program will raise taxes considerably. Just last year, Democrats voted to raise taxes on health care by more than $2 billion over the next four years. Now, they want to raise a tax specific on insulin for more than $114 million. It’s clear that they are singularly focused on taxing our health care system.
For that reason, I voted “no” on the bill.
It’s important that diabetics have access to affordable insulin. However, there are already several existing programs to help folks in need.
Health insurers on the individual market announced this summer that they would cap the costs of insulin at $25 or less for a month’s supply. These changes were for all the insurers’ full insured plans, both on the individual market and in the small group market.
In addition to those options, each of the three major insulin manufacturers provides programs that offer free or reduced-cost insulin to individuals that struggle to afford the product.
Minnesota’s public health care programs, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare offer incredibly generous insulin coverage, usually providing the products for free or at a significantly reduced rate.
Finally, there are numerous free discount programs offered by companies like GoodRx, InsideRX, and Blink Health.
If you or someone you know struggle to afford or access insulin, please contact your doctor to discuss options available for you.
On Thursday, House Democrats approved legislation that seriously infringes on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
The first bill, House File 8, would impose several new restrictions on the transfer of pistols and semi-automatic rifles. These strict new hurdles and barriers will adversely impact law-abiding Minnesotans seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights and will do little to stop criminals who don't already follow the law and have no intention of doing so.
While proponents of the bill claim that it is about background checks for gun purchases, the legislation ultimately creates new burdens for what used to be very routine transfers between friends and could inadvertently turn people into criminals if they don't follow the exact processes laid out in the bill.
According to a 2016 US Department of Justice study, less than 1% of criminals obtain their guns at gun shows, and the vast majority of acquired guns are obtained from illegal sources. Another study in California by UC-Davis found no changes in firearm homicide or suicide rates 10 years after a universal background check bill was enacted there.
The second bill, House File 9, creates an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” or a “red-flag” process to file a petition with the courts whereby if someone believes you are a risk to self or others, they can have your firearms seized by law enforcement.
This bill violates due process and will not stop those who are intent on doing harm to others.
Seizure of property without a warrant is a violation of civil rights and there is no other constitutional right that is treated with as much disregard as the 2nd Amendment. The order can be handed down after an ex-parte court hearing and results in a court order to immediately surrender firearms prior to the gun owner being able to defend themselves in a court of law or request a hearing to contest the order. This effectively treats people as guilty until proven innocent, which goes against the principles of our legal system.
I was proud to vote “no” on both bills.
Staying in Touch
Thanks to local folks that visited St. Paul this week!
This week, a group of students from both FCCLA and Collegiate DECA visited my office to discuss their respective programs. Both organizations do an outstanding job preparing young people to have successful careers!
Thanks to the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce for visiting to discuss issues impacting businesses in our area.
Tom Kavanaugh from Kavanaugh's Resort visited this week to discuss issues facing resorts. These are important issues in our area!
As always, please be sure to reach out to me to share any thoughts, questions, or concerns you may have regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4293 or via email at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend,