ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee will begin the work of advancing bills that represent consumer interests. Priorities the committee will hear this week include bills to curb the recent rise in stolen catalytic converters, increase penalties on illegal robocalls, and prevent price-gouging on prescription drugs.
“There is a backlog of common-sense policies that Minnesotans are clamoring for, and we are going to address these issues urgently,” said Commerce Committee chair Senator Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights). “Every single Minnesotan has been affected by these problems. The proposals we are taking up this week are only the start of the good work on consumer protection we will pass this session.”
“Catalytic converter thefts occur on a daily basis throughout the state, and cost Minnesotans thousands of dollars,” said Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville), chief author of the catalytic converter theft prevention bill. “Minnesota has the third-biggest black market for stolen catalytic converters in the country. This legislation was drafted with input from law enforcement experts, and is a long overdue step toward making a huge dent in the problem.”
“Keeping stolen goods from reentering the legitimate stream of commerce will decrease their value and discourage the disturbing trend of thefts in Minnesota,” said Joe Boche, a special agent with the Department of Commerce fraud prevention division. “Senator Marty’s bill will make it easier for law enforcement to investigate catalytic converter thefts and for prosecutors to take thieves to court.”
“As a physician, I know first-hand the difficulty Minnesotans have paying for the medication they need,” said Senator Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven), chief author of the bill to fight price spikes in prescription medicine. “No one with a chronic condition should risk their health because the cost of a drug is too high. Establishing a prescription drug affordability board and stopping price-gouging benefits patients, providers, insurers, and will drive down the cost of healthcare for all of us.”
Senator Marty’s bill to combat catalytic converter thefts will be heard in the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee during its 12:30 p.m. hearing Tuesday, and is scheduled to move to the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. Senator Morrison’s prescription drug price-gouging prevention bill will be heard in the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee during its 12:30 p.m. hearing on Thursday.