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Others’ opinion: Legislature: Solve bonding, insulin, gun violence issues

The Free Press, Mankato
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Insulin affordability. Gun violence. Small-town water treatment plants. Voter privacy.

These are just a few of the critical issues the Minnesota Legislature should get serious about tackling when it gavels open its session this week.

While election years can create incentives for elected leaders to go all talk and no action, Minnesotans shouldn’t accept that. There are too many critical policy issues to solve, many left unfinished in last year’s less than perfect finish.

These pages have long advocated for a solution to the affordability of insulin. Every day we wait to solve this problem, diabetics and others may be risking their lives as they choose between groceries and medicine.

The sticking point revolves around how to pay for the program. Democrats mostly pointed to pharmaceutical companies, while Republicans see that state subsidizing at least part of a program and pharmaceutical companies participating in other ways.

Legislators should compromise and get this done quickly.

Another proposal we favor is the changing of the primary election law so voters can opt-out of providing political parties information on which party they chose. Again, this should be done quickly. We can accept either plan from Democrats or Republicans, both of whom offer opt-out or privacy. The Republican leaders in the Senate say they oppose changing the law.

Legislators should also pass commonsense gun background checks that exempt family transfers and red flag laws that protect victims of domestic abuse by taking away abusers guns after due process.

And finally, small towns all over Minnesota have water treatment upgrade bills their taxpayers and populations cannot afford. Some state assistance with financing, bonding or funding seems reasonable to keep small towns vital.

There’s plenty to do this session. How much gets done will tell Minnesotans whether their leaders were interested in solving problems or creating chances for election-year gotchas.