2019 Legislature starts hearing bills while a number of press conferences highlight legislation

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State offices were closed and committees did not meet so legislators were able to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday on January 21. The week started off with a number of press conferences, including one on paid family and medical leave, reducing the cost of insulin, the opioid epidemic, and gun violence reduction.

Committee work kicked into full gear with the hands-free cellphone bills heard in the Senate and House, an update from the Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Prevention working group, Driver Assist Technology in commercial trucks, and stricter penalties for sexual assault.

There were a number of groups who held “days” at the Capitol this week including the Woman’s March, AIDS Action Day, MCCL, National School Choice, and the Minnesota gun owners lobby day.

There seems to be consensus to fast track a few bills this session including legislation authorizing Minnesota to access federal funds for election security and hands-free cellphone legislation. The legislature will hear more regarding these issues and others in the coming weeks.