March 20 marked the first day of Spring! I hope you had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather over the weekend.
This week also marks our first major legislative deadline to advance bills out of committee. Here’s a look at some of the legislation we’ve been working on in the House:
Drought Relief, Climate Resiliency, & Protecting Clean Water Access
The agriculture and food production industries aren’t just major pieces of Minnesota’s economy; they are critical to ensuring we all have healthy, nutritious food to eat. Unfortunately, due to persistent drought conditions starting last year, many farmers and ranchers have faced enormous challenges. I was proud to support significant drought relief legislation that passed in the House recently to help them recover, with the funding targeted toward the smallest operations, including specialty crop producers who are unable to access federal crop insurance.
We also need to recognize the impact of climate change, including extreme weather swings, so it’s imperative we invest in climate resiliency. The bill includes investments to help communities remove and replace impacted trees and prepare for future water challenges, replace seedlings on DNR-managed lands killed by the drought, and to help private forestland owners and tribal and county governments replace seedlings on their lands.
In a time of accelerating climate change and increasing water scarcity, we must proactively develop a comprehensive strategy for ensuring abundant clean water in Minnesota. Tomorrow, on World Water Day, I’ll present my bill that calls for a study to do just so that we can develop a plan guided by science to protect our water.
Health Access Improvements for Minnesotans
Last week, I participated in a press conference to announce a bipartisan package of pharmacy bills, including mine to allow pharmacists to administer injectable medicines with a prescription. It will help with access, equity, convenience and help improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Cheryl Willman, Executive Director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Programs, testified recently in support of my bill to bring Minnesota into compliance with national cancer data sharing requirements so we can best prevent, screen, diagnose and treat cancer.
I’m also authoring a bill to remove barriers to tobacco cessation and treatment services for Minnesotans. The legislation was discussed in the Health Finance Committee and is being considered for possible inclusion in a larger health finance bill. This is an important step to make this bill a law.
Connected to Community
It was wonderful to meet with constituent Michele Abbott about the great work and legislative priorities of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota on Lutheran Social Services’ virtual Day at the Capitol.
I appreciated this group of advocates, service providers and constituents meeting with me on Disability Services Day at the Capitol! It is essential DSPs are paid a wage that appropriately compensates their important work and attracts new talent.
Many thanks to Orono Public Schools Superintendent Flesher for meeting to discuss mental health in schools. I’m grateful for her expertise as a psychologist and an educator!
It was wonderful to meet with this group University of Minnesota Medical School students! They are heading to residencies across the country, but most hope to return to Minnesota. We talked about the importance of physician advocacy in shaping policy. So proud of and excited for these new physicians.