Stopping the Spread of EAB
Last Tuesday, the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee held a public hearing on my bill, HF 2015, to stop the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The bill establishes a program to deliver matching grants to communities working to respond to EAB. EAB is an insect which infests and kills weak and healthy ash trees alike, and with nearly 1 billion ash trees in the state, all of them are vulnerable.
The Minnesota DNR has a map here tracking where EAB has been located and where there are quarantines. Due to our colder temperatures, the spread of EAB hasn’t affected northern Minnesota to the extent it has the metro area and southeastern Minnesota, but we must be vigilant to slow its spread. This legislation will contribute to this effort.
Addressing Our Opioid Crisis
The House took a step forward last week to stop tragedies caused by our state’s opioid crisis. New data was released this week showing the number of deaths due to overdoses has increased for the seventh consecutive year. The bill we passed, HF 400, contains comprehensive education, prevention, recovery, and treatment strategies. It's also time for drug companies to pay their fair share toward these solutions, and with the registration fees for them under this bill, they will. Funding from these fees will then go toward initiatives to end the crisis.
Minnesotans have courageously shared their stories, and they helped raise the urgency of taking action. I particularly want to thank the bill author, Rep. Liz Olson of Duluth, whom I joined for a press conference before the vote.