Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update
I hope your holiday season was enjoyable, and that 2018 will be a great year for you and your family. At the Capitol, we continue to prepare for the 2018 legislative session, which starts February 20. Here is my latest Legislative Update.
Out and About
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ “Pint Night” at Unmapped Brewing in Minnetonka. I appreciated hearing their volunteer efforts to preserve and protect hunting and fishing habitats. I look forward to connecting with them in the future and learning more about their priorities. Here I am with member Mark Norquist.
Earlier this week, Sen. Steve Cwodzinski and I were invited to visit EVS in Eden Prairie. EVS provides civil and electrical engineering, surveying, and environmental services. I was excited to hear that this local firm is a leader nationally in solar installations. We learned how state legislation promoting solar gardens is spurring innovation in this field. A challenge to the adaption of solar power is the difficulty of finding qualified electricians. This reinforces what we’ve heard from other businesses about the skills gap in Minnesota and the need to increase job training opportunities. EVS has had success hiring exceptional talent from around the country and the world. Highlighting that Minnesota is a great place to live and EVS is a great place to work!
News laws on January 1st
While most laws go into effect in July and August after the legislative session, a few new laws went into effect on January 1st. Of the new laws that went into effect, one is especially important for those who are losing their hearing. Hearing loss associated with aging can lead to depression, dementia, hospitalizations and falls. A new law will allow home care providers to be trained on recognizing hearing loss and how to improve the lives of those experiencing it.
Also now in effect, you have the opportunity to register for new license plates honoring fallen officers. You can read about the handful of new laws here.
In my prior updates, I’ve recapped the topics discussed at the recent Town Hall Meeting Sen. Cwodzinski and I recently held. Here are the remaining issues folks brought up:
Investments in infrastructure like this are absolutely critical to growing opportunities for area families and maintaining our region’s competitiveness. Whether providing an alternative way to get to work, appointments, or to sporting events or other activities in Minneapolis or St. Paul, there is growing demand for quality transit options. Unfortunately, the effort has seen some setbacks, but things appear to be back on track, with the project out for bids again. Businesses, civic organizations and citizens have all pushed for SWLRT to move forward, and I hope its development can continue to completion.
In Minnesota especially, we value individual health and healthy communities. While we have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, affordable health care remains out of reach for many Minnesotans. For much of the last year, the Trump administration and its allies in Congress have sought to make major changes to our country’s health insurance system. Whatever happens, or doesn’t, at the federal level will likely drive much of what we’re able to do in Minnesota, and I’m committed to supporting policies which improve long-term outcomes for people, and not rushed reactionary measures.
Gun Violence Prevention
This is an issue which many in the community, myself included, continue to be passionate about. The tragedies last year in Las Vegas, Texas and elsewhere highlight the need for common sense policy changes to keep communities across the country safe. For my part, I continue to support universal background checks and closing the “gun show loophole” to ensure guns are kept out of the hands of people who shouldn’t possess them. There’s a frustration at a lack of any meaningful action either at the state legislature or in the U.S. Congress addressing this issue to save lives, and I’ll keep working toward these necessary changes.
As always, I appreciate hearing your ideas, input and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or if I can ever be of assistance. It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol.