It has been very busy at the State Capitol with full committee agendas and many visits with constituents. It’s great to hear the perspectives from so many people in the community.
George Espenson, Eden Prairie’s Fire Chief came by my office yesterday. It was great to catch up with a fellow Rotary member.
On Monday, as part of STEM Advocacy Day, I visited with Eden Prairie and Hopkins robotics team members for Robots in the Rotunda. March 29-31st they will compete in the 10K Lakes FIRST Robotics Competition at Williams Arena.
Other constituents I got to meet with included pharmacists...
…students from Carleton College…
…and physical therapists.
Opioid Awareness Day
Yesterday was Opioid Awareness Day at the Capitol. The opioid epidemic continues to cause unthinkable tragedies and action is overdue. Governor Dayton and a bipartisan group of legislators recently announced a comprehensive plan addressing this issue. The approach is multifaceted, with strategies involving local communities (including tribal governments), health care professionals, and law enforcement. Increased investments in prevention, treatment, and recovery are all included. Legislation like this will save lives, and there is a bipartisan desire to move forward on strategies like this this year. The Health and Human Services Reform Committee held its first hearing on the proposal yesterday.
Wednesday night, I attended a community discussion about the topic featuring Joe Rannazzisi, a DEA whistleblower who has worked to shine a spotlight on the pharmaceutical industry’s role in this. He’s testified before Congress over 30 times and has appeared on programs like 60 Minutes.
Sen. Chris Eaton of Brooklyn Center was also there, and she’s been a tireless fighter to end this crisis ever since she tragically lost her daughter to an overdose. I’m pictured with her here along with my husband, Dr. Jon Pryor.
Budget Forecast Announced
On Wednesday, the February Economic Forecast was released showing a modest budget surplus of $329 million. This is a change from November when a $188 million deficit was projected. The swing is largely due to short-term revenue increases following the federal tax bill’s passage in December and Congress’s reauthorization of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding, which they had failed to do by November.
This is good news, and is the ninth projected budget surplus out of the last 10 forecasts. This comes along with U.S. News and World Report ranking us the 2nd best state in the nation this week. With plenty of uncertainty at the federal level, we have to be cautious moving forward or we could be at risk of heading backward. I’ll work to keep up our commitments in the things that have put us in such a good position like great schools, accessible health care, modern transportation infrastructure, and fair paying jobs.
Please continue to reach out with your input. Feel free to call or email me anytime.