Notes From The Capitol: May 2018

Helping Everyone Find a Good-Paying Career
Not everyone wants or needs to go to a four-year college. But everyone should be able to find a good-paying career. That’s why I introduced a bill to help Minnesotans develop the skills they need—for jobs that are available right now—without taking on huge amounts of debt.

My bill, called the 21st Century Workforce Partnerships Act, would expand workforce training partnerships between secondary schools, community and technical colleges, and local businesses.

Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling all around Minnesota to gather input on local workforce needs. I’ve seen models that excel, visited communities that have found success, and I’ve seen places that could benefit from more resources and support.

These visits helped me write a bill that reflects both the needs of and successes pioneered by Minnesotans. I’m going to push to get this bill passed into law because it’s a win for Minnesota’s workforce, economy, and working families.

Learn more here.

Ramping Up Measures to Keep Vulnerable Immigrant Children Safe
Children shouldn’t be suddenly abandoned at home or at school without information on their parents’ whereabouts, but we’re seeing that happen to kids with parents or guardians who are caught up in immigration enforcement, detention, and removal actions.

Since I first heard that immigrant children are being separated from their parents or guardians, I committed to protecting children whose families are swept up in immigration enforcement. I’ve introduced legislation that makes good on my promise, but more than that, it’s the right thing to do.

The HELP Separated Children Act steps up efforts to keep vulnerable children safe with commonsense measures, like allowing parents to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensuring that kids can call and visit their parents while they are detained.

I hope we can get this bill passed into law, because it’s what’s best for children and families.

Learn more here.

Holding Big Pharma Accountable
Skyrocketing prescription drug prices are hurting Minnesota families, and the stories are heartbreaking. This month, I spoke with a Minnesota mom who lost her son because he was rationing his life-saving insulin. 

This is wrong, and it comes at a time when pharmaceutical companies are raking in staggering profits. On top of what they’re already making, last year’s tax law provided these companies with huge windfalls—dollars that could be used to bring down costs for consumers.

That’s why I introduced a bill—the Disclosing Pharmaceutical Company Windfall Profits Act—to help hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. We need to do all we can to tackle prescription drug prices, and part of this is knowing just how many dollars are going into the pockets of investors and shareholders at the expense of patients, and what action—if any—pharmaceutical companies are taking to lower drug prices for consumers in Minnesota.

Learn more here

Improving Rural Health Care with a Bipartisan Bill
Families in rural areas often have a harder time getting the care they need—and barriers like lack of transportation, lack of broadband, and high insurance costs can all play a role. When I meet with farmers, businesses, and families in rural areas, they feel like the federal government should be doing more to tackle these health care challenges. And I agree.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a strong advocate for rural communities in Minnesota and across the country, and I think they can do even more to advocate for the unique health care needs of rural communities.

That’s why I helped introduce a bipartisan bill with Senator Rounds of South Dakota and Senator Jones from Alabama to create a rural health liaison at USDA. This liaison would be responsible for listening to rural communities and then pushing agencies across the federal government to work together to tackle rural health care challenges.

As a leader of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation and I’ll be working to get it added to the Farm Bill. 

Learn more here