2020 Legislative Preview

March 15, 2020 9:22 PM | Anonymous

A look into which bills MPHA members will be keeping an eye on this legislative session.

Topic: Tobacco 21

Bill number:

Description: Statewide legislation that increases the legal sale age for tobacco from 18 to 21. AHA and the Minnesotans for a Smokefree Generation coalition are still planning to push a state T21 bill this session to support compliance and enforcement and to remove PUP penalties. More than 60 Minnesota communities have already taken action by passing local Tobacco 21 ordinances, but the recent surge in youth e-cigarette use demands a statewide response.

Topic: Tobacco prevention funding

Bill number:

Description: Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for cancer. Last year, Minnesota collected more than $750 million in tobacco taxes and settlement fees, but less than one percent was spent on tobacco prevention. ClearWay MinnesotaSM, which provides most of the funding for tobacco prevention in Minnesota, will end by 2022. A long-term, sustainable solution must be in place before it sunsets. American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network (CAN) supports sustainable funding for tobacco prevention in Minnesota.

Topic: Flavored tobacco products

Bill number:

Description: 80 percent of youth tobacco users use fruit, candy, or menthol flavored tobacco products. The tobacco industry markets flavored products, including menthol, to youth, African Americans, and other specific populations. Flavored products mask the harshness of tobacco but are just as addictive and dangerous as other products. ACS CAN supports restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol cigarettes.

Topic: Healthy kids’ meals

Bill number:

Description: Legislation that makes water and milk the default beverage options in kids’ meals. Making water and milk the default beverage options for kids’ meals at restaurants will promote healthier beverage options and help reduce sugary drink consumption.

Topic: Safe routes to school

Bill number:

Description: $6 million for Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants in a bonding bill. Safe Routes to School helps improve children’s safety by providing safer crosswalks and routes to walk and bike to school, which can increase physical activity and also promote students’ health and academic performance. Demand for infrastructure grants continues to grow in Minnesota, with requests for funding far exceeding available state and federal dollars.

Topic: Access to care

Bill number:

Description: Policies that support health care access and coverage for individuals living with or at risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. AHA’s positions include but are not limited to prohibiting discrimination in coverage for pre-existing conditions, opposing the extension of short-term limited duration health plans, and supporting the continuation of the Palliative Care Advisory Council.

Topic: Transportation: Reliable, long-term, dedicated funding for lasting change

Bill number:


  • A 3/4-cent increase in the metro sales tax to fund more bus routes, more electric buses, and more frequent service - with 90% of total revenue dedicated to metro-area transit and 10% dedicated to improving bicycling and walking in the metro.
  • $10 million per year in new, ongoing funding for Greater Minnesota transit.
  • $15 million per year in new, ongoing funding for Greater Minnesota bicycling and walking.

Topic: Transportation: Capital investments for immediate, meaningful progress in 2020

Bill number:


  • $75 million for arterial bus rapid transit in the metro - bonding dollars are urgently needed this year to build the shovel-ready D Line and B Line, and to plan and engineer for additional lines that finally move the region beyond a smattering of routes to a connected aBRT system. 
  • 15 million for transit facilities in Greater Minnesota.
  • $10 million for suburban transit facilities.
  • $10 million for statewide Safe Routes to School.
  • $10 million in statewide electric bus and vehicle charging infrastructure.

Topic: Breast and cervical cancer treatment for American Indian women

Bill number:

Description: The American Indian Cancer Foundation is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCDEP) to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings to under- and uninsured urban American Indian women in Minnesota. Under federal law, any woman diagnosed with cancer through a NBCCDEP-funded program is eligible for Medicaid. However, Minnesota's Medical Assistance for Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act is written with the most restrictive wording and names the Minnesota Department of Health’s Sage Screening Program as the only eligible screening program, leaving out any women screened and diagnosed through other CDC programs. ACS CAN supports legislation to broaden the treatment coverage to all women diagnosed under any NBCCEDP funded program in Minnesota.

Topic: Palliative care

Bill number:

Description: ACS CAN supports legislation to fund the existing Minnesota Palliative Care Advisory Council, which works to identify barriers to coordinated, supportive care during treatment of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.  

Topic: Protecting access to pain medication for cancer patients

Bill number:

Description: ACS CAN will monitor legislative proposals regarding the prescribing of opioid pain medications and advocate for a balanced approach that promotes safe prescribing and dispensing of pain management medication that does not interfere with access to these medicines for the cancer patients and survivors who need them.

Topic: Paid family and medical leave (**bill is still alive from last session)

Bill number: HF5

Description: This bill would create a state-administered paid leave insurance program that would provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical and family leave, so Minnesotans can take care of themselves and their families. Everyone would contribute and everyone would benefit. More information about the issue and the coalition behind it is here.

Topic: Clean energy (**bill is still alive from last session)

Bill number: HF700/SF850

Description: Health impacts related to climate change are significant and will accelerate without legislativeaction to reduce carbon emissions. The bill increases Minnesota’s renewable energy standard for electric utilities, removes garbage burning from definition of renewable energy, sets 100% carbon free energy standard in 2050, and includes language to ensure the benefits of the energy transition are shared equitably. Bipartisan support, but significant hurdles in the Senate.

Topic: Expand firearm background checks (**bill is still alive from last session)

Bill number: HF 8
Description: This bill calls for expanding criminal background checks to include most private sales and transfers to include sales at gun shows or online. The background checks would not apply to a sale or transfer to an immediate family member. 

Topic: “Red flag” law (**bill is still alive from last session)

Bill number: HF 9/SF 436

Description: This bill would adopt a “red flag” law that would allow relatives and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who may be a serious threat to others or themselves.

Topic: Recreational cannabis

Bill number:

Description: A specific bill on the legalization of recreational cannabis has yet to be introduced for this session. This bill would likely propose to allow individuals over the age of 21 to possess and consume (and potentially cultivate) cannabis. It might also include criminal expungement. Representative Winkler has been traveling throughout the state to hold discussions on legalizing recreational cannabis; it is something he has been a proponent of for awhile. 

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