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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, February 1, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to all who visited during this week in spite of snow and extreme cold. Visitor topics included banking and credit union employees, homeless youth, parents concerned about honoring parental rights in regards to medicine and education, pro-life issues, and honoring the Second Amendment.

I welcome visitors from the district to discuss any Minnesota law or rule that affects you or about which you are concerned as well as legislative proposals that are being debated such as no texting while driving and the opioid abuse.

Hands Free Bill Receives First Hearing

House File 50 received its first committee hearing this week in the Transportation Policy and Finance Committee. This bill, authored by Rep. Frank Hornstein, aims to address the issue of distracted driving.

The bill would ban all handheld mobile device usage, including making phone calls, texting, accessing applications, and playing audio or video content. It would include exceptions for activating or deactivating features on the device using a one-touch mode, some emergency situations, and for use in emergency vehicles when used for official duties.

During the hearing, the Department of Public Safety shared information revealing that 1 in 5 crashes in Minnesota is caused by distracted driving.

It’s clear that the issue of distracted driving needs to be addressed and I hope that this legislation will make a positive impact as this bill is very likely to be passed by the House.

Opioid Legislation Introduced

Rep. Liz Olson and Rep. Dave Baker introduced major legislation this week that is intended to address the opioid crisis in Minnesota in a variety of ways ranging from the immediate to long-term.

Items in the bill range from pilot programs and demonstration studies, to funding increases for treatment and prevention services, to additional support for children removed from their homes because of parental drug use.

Funding for the bill would come from a brand-new opiate product registration fee that is expected to generate $20 million a year from manufacturers and wholesale distributors.

A lot of work has been done over the last few years to fight back against the opioid epidemic that has affected so many people and families across Minnesota. This bill would be the biggest step forward yet. It remains to be seen what this legislation will look like in its final form, but I am certainly supportive of the intent of the bill. We need to be doing more to fight this terrible epidemic and I plan on being a part of the solution.

Paid Sick and Parental Leave

Another bill that received a great deal of attention this week was a paid sick and family leave proposal by House Democrats that would raise taxes on every working Minnesotan and their employer in the state. What’s more, the plan would establish a massive government-run bureaucracy that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to design and run.

This massive new system has MNLARS/MNsure 3.0 written all over it. We still don’t know what it will cost to build and given recent struggles with MNLARS and MNsure, we have no guarantee how this is going to work.

We shouldn’t raise taxes on every working Minnesotans and spend millions of dollars on a massive, expensive new government bureaucracy. If this is really about providing sick and leave time to Minnesota workers, let’s work to incentivize employers to provide better benefits—not take even more money out of the paychecks of hardworking Minnesotans.

Staying In Touch

One last thought before we say goodbye for this week, there’s been a lot of news recently about extreme abortion bills in both New York state and Virginia. These bills would allow an abortion to occur all the way up to the point of labor. These bills are truly horrific.

As your representative, I will continue to stand up for life and for the rights of the unborn. Rest assured, what’s happening in New York and Virginia will not happen in Minnesota. Period.

Finally, here’s an update on some survey results from my legislative survey:

  • Gas tax increase—85 percent NO
  • Single-payer health insurance system managed by government–75 percent NO
  • Legalization of marijuana—70 percent NO

That’s all for this week’s update. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Sondra

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