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Legislative Updates & Alerts

During the legislative session, MNAAP members receive bi-weekly legislative updates emailed to them from the chapter’s policy chair and lobbyist.

The 2020 session runs from Feb.11 to May 18.

April 6, 2020

The Capitol remained largely empty in recent weeks as the extended Easter and Passover breaks continued.  Legislators did return to the Capitol in late March to pass another COVID-19 relief package.  The $320 million measure provides funding for many impacted sectors of Minnesota, including childcare, transportation needs, veterans programs, government continuity, and dozens of other provisions.  Of note, the bill provides $26 million to support programs for the homeless, as well as an additional $9 million appropriation for food shelves and other food stability programs

Governor Walz continued to use his executive authority to enact measures to stop the spread of the pandemic and assisting those who are impacted.  Recent executive measures include restrictions on the prescribing of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent shortages of the drugs, as well as temporarily waiving CME requirements for the duration of the public health emergency.

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.

March 9, 2020

Positive movement on tobacco and nicotine control continued in recent weeks. Legislation to align Minnesota’s tobacco purchase age minimum at 21 with new federal cleared a key Senate committee, and a bill to prohibit the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in vehicles when children are present was passed by two House committees in recent days. Youth-friendly flavors in tobacco and e-cigarettes was the subject of another hearing.

One of the Legislature’s leading voices on early childhood investment, Rep. Dave Pinto is set to keynote the Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol on Monday, March 23.  In addition to being a leader on child health issues, Rep. Pinto is also the author of one of the session’s most important bills to reduce firearm injury and death.

Join your colleagues for this day of advocacy on behalf of Minnesota’s youngest residents, as well as fellowship with colleagues from across the state at Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol on Monday, March 23. Registration information is available here.  Act now, as early registration increases your likelihood of securing a meeting with your elected officials.

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.

February 24, 2020

Vaccine proponents from around the state gathered in the Capitol rotunda for a joyful celebration of immunizations and the tremendous public good served by vaccines. Dozens of health professionals – including many pediatricians and medical students – as well as parents and children, held an enthusiastic rally in support of increasing vaccination rates.

Mark your calendars for Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol, set for Monday, March 23. Join your colleagues for this day of advocacy on behalf of Minnesota’s youngest residents, as well as fellowship with pediatricians and pediatricians-in-training from across the state. More information is available here.

The House DFL’s major early education proposal gathered some momentum in recent weeks as it was considered in the House Childhood Finance and Policy Division on Feb. 18. The bill’s intent is to decrease racial and ethnic disparities in access to and utilization of high-quality prenatal care. The bill would provide $500,000 in additional spending to expand eligibility for scholarships to provide access to the state’s youngest learners, while also providing policy changes intended to improve and expand the program and other early learning opportunities.

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.

February 10, 2020

The 2020 legislative session kicks off Feb. 11 and is expected to last until late May. The primary task before legislators is consideration of policy-related legislation and bonding, the process by which cities, counties, universities, and other entities fund capital-intensive construction projects.  Several health care-related issues are likely to come before legislators, including insulin access, tobacco and e-cigarettes, recreational cannabis, and many others.

Increasing immunization rates and fighting firearm injury and death are the two main priorities for the MNAAP during the 2020 legislative session. The MNAAP has long advocated for reforming Minnesota’s weak immunization requirements, and we will work to repeal the personal belief exemption (PBE) to allow exemptions only for medical contraindication. The chapter will also continue to advocate for common-sense measures to prevent firearm violence, including expanded background checks and mechanisms to remove firearms from the homes of those who might be a danger to themselves or others.  While immunizations and firearm violence are the chapter’s two chief legislative priorities, the MNAAP will be engaged in dozens of other issues.

Mark your calendars for Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol, set for March 23. Join your colleagues for this day of advocacy on behalf of Minnesota’s youngest residents, as well as fellowship with colleagues from across the state.  More information is available here.

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.

January 5, 2020

With the 2020 legislative session beginning on Feb. 11, 2020, the MNAAP took the next steps to pursue our legislative agenda when the Board of Directors selected the chapter’s 2020 legislative priorities. The chapter will focus on increasing immunization rates and enacting common-sense provisions to reduce firearm violence. The two priorities were identified through a MNAAP policy roundtable discussion with members after reviewing the results of the all-member survey, and were affirmed by the MNAAP Board of Directors.

Recognizing the significant risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, the MNAAP has long argued that Minnesota’s vaccine requirement for school-aged children – among the weakest in the country – needs reform. Minnesota was the scene of a major measles outbreak in 2017, and even larger outbreaks occurred earlier this year in New York and elsewhere. Many states – California, New York, and Maine notably – have strengthened their childhood immunization requirements in the wake of these threats to public health, and Minnesota would be wise to follow their lead.

Make no mistake, fixing Minnesota’s weak vaccine law will be an uphill battle given the influence of anti-vaccine activists and legislators.  The anti-vaccine community is very well organized, and they routinely fill legislators’ inboxes with dozens, even hundreds, of emails.  It will take the action of pediatricians, other physicians, health advocates, and parents from across the state voicing their support of strengthened vaccine requirements for us to be successful.

The MNAAP has once again chosen to tackle firearm violence in the upcoming session. Specifically, the chapter will partner with legislative champions and allied groups to extend background checks to all sales and transfers of firearms, including at gun shows and private sales. In addition, the MNAAP will lobby for passage of a “red flag law” to allow law enforcement to seize firearms from those individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. Recent legislative sessions have seen chapter leaders testify in support of these common-sense proposals, and our advocacy will continue.

While increasing immunization rates and reducing firearm violence are the chapter’s identified legislative priorities, the MNAAP will be closely tracking dozens of other issues. Efforts to bar the use of conversion therapy for minors, promote health equity, and eliminate teen access to tobacco and e-cigarettes will remain on the chapter’s radar. Each legislative session always brings surprising issues that require the MNAAP’s involvement. In 2018, for example, the chapter was forced to quickly mobilize to oppose efforts to weaken safe sleep requirements in child care settings.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the 2020 Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol set for Monday, March 23.  The MNAAP’s single biggest advocacy event, Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol is always a terrific day of advocacy and energy.  This day is critically important to our advocacy efforts.  Visit www.mnaap.org/day-at-the-capitol/ to register and make plans to join us!


Written by Eric Dick, MNAAP lobbyist

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