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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 14, 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020

Rep. Howard

Dear Neighbors,

The Minnesota Legislature is back in session, and this week we hit the ground running. While much of last session was focused on setting Minnesota’s state budget, this year we’ll be investing in infrastructure and community projects throughout the state, working on new policy initiatives, and doubling down on important bills left over from the previous legislative session like the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. This is a shorter legislative session than last year, with no shortage of work to get done. Here’s a highlight of some of the important bills from this week:


Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act

Every Minnesota child should have the same opportunity for a bright and promising future, but that’s sadly not the case. Our state suffers from one of the largest opportunity gaps in the nation, with many families in our community struggling to afford quality child care or ensure access to quality pre-K education for their kids.

That's why I am proud to support the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, which provides $500 million for early learning and child care. Specifically, I am working to ensure this bill includes support for our Family, Friend and Neighbor child care networks like La RED Latina de Educación Temprana MN, who are doing innovative work to ensure all kids have access to quality child care.

HF 1

This is one of the highest priorities for the House DFL, which is why it was the first bill to be introduced for our new majority. This session, I look forward to pursuing these bold solutions to ensure a great start for every child.


Supporting our Firefighters

Our firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities on a daily basis. The very least we can do is support them when they need help. There is an alarmingly high incidence of cancer, heart disease, and emotional trauma facing our state’s firefighters, and to combat this I’ve signed on to bipartisan legislation that would provide “Critical Care” grants and an Employee Assistance Program to make sure medical bills are covered and counseling is provided.

This bill was heard alongside several others during Thursday’s Emergency Responders Day in the House Public Safety Division. You can follow this bill through the legislative process here.


A Busy Week for Affordable Insulin

It’s long been the position of the Minnesota House that open and transparent hearings on insulin legislation need to take place with the sense of urgency that the issue requires. This week, I presented the Alec Smith Affordable Insulin Act to four committees in two days, with our amazing group of advocates joining me along the way. I’m simultaneously grateful and frustrated that these advocates have had to come to the State Capitol multiple times over the past year to fight for access to a drug they need to survive, or for the change that would have saved a lost loved one.


Shari Wiltrout displaying the cost of insulin for her family

The Senate’s version of an insulin affordability bill was presented in a single committee this week, with the same crucial difference that their bill fails to hold Big Pharma accountable. Our bill in the House will be back in committee on Monday (and Wednesday), with the hope of it reaching the House floor soon. I’ll continue to urge my Senate colleagues to move with the same urgency and openness so that soon we can pass a bill that better ensures no Minnesotan dies from an inability to afford insulin ever again.


Stay Connected

With only 13 weeks left, things will be moving fast here. To stay up to date with everything that’s going on, House Public Information Services will be providing updated schedules and live feeds of committee hearings. You can also ‘like’ my official Facebook page and subscribe and share these email updates.

This first week back serves as a great reminder of how much of an honor it is to represent our community in the Minnesota House. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you have on the legislative process. You can reach me at (651) 296-7158 or I look forward to hearing from you.



Michael Howard