Session Starts with a Heavy Heart
The Minnesota Legislature convened on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to begin what is expected to be a five-month session. It started with a very heavy heart for many of us when we learned of the death of long-time lobbyist Eric Dick the day before.
Eric was employed by the Minnesota Medical Association for 10 years and served as MNAAP’s lobbyist for most of those years. Eric brought a wealth of knowledge of the legislative and political processes. Prior to his work with MNAAP and MMA, Eric served as a committee administrator for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and prior to that worked for Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin.
Eric is missed by many who worked with him over the years. Upon hearing of Eric’s death, Sen. Matt Klein, MD (DFL-Mendota Heights) said the following: “Eric Dick was a model of advocacy with integrity at the State Capitol. He was good at what he did because he believed in the power of good government to ensure ethical and accessible health care for all. He was unfailingly kind, hopeful, informed, and professional; it was a pleasure to see him in the hallways or the offices every time.”
We will all miss Eric, his guidance, his love of good policy, and his welcoming personality.
MNAAP Legislative Priorities
Minnesota again has the distinction of being the only state legislature in the country that has a split government, with different parties controlling the different bodies. This increases the challenges of reaching agreement, especially on issues for which there is controversy. In addition, the Legislature is facing a budget deficit that they will be required to balance before they adjourn in May.
These two factors create some uncertainty on how much the Legislature will be willing to accomplish this year.
MNAAP intends to actively pursue key issues despite these barriers. Priority issues for MNAAP in 2021 include:
• Preserving Medical assistance and other social support programs for children;
• Ensuring equitable and statewide access to broadband and telehealth services;
• Increasing vaccination rates; and
• Reducing firearm violence, injury, and death.
This is a summary only. To receive full legislative updates on a biweekly basis, you must be a member of MNAAP. The emails provide additional details about legislative issues that are not posted on our website and are for members only.