Sen. Gene Dornink: Important ag measure included in Ag Omnibus bill

Published 6:30 am Saturday, April 17, 2021

Friends and neighbors,

As we begin to wrap up the Legislative session, we are spending most of our time passing legislation to help our communities. Agriculture legislation is particularly important for our district and I was excited to vote yes on our agriculture omnibus bill.

I am proud that one of my bills to fund mental health services to our farmers was included in the Agriculture Omnibus bill. This will provide close to half a million dollars for statewide mental health counseling support to farm families and business operators through the Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence.

This is incredibly important support for some of our most underserved but vital individuals in our community. The agriculture budget bill was heard and voted on Wednesday. As a member of the agriculture committee, I have participated in construction of this bill from farm advocacy to county fair funding.

This bill included important investments in improving our biofuel infostructure and works to toll back MPCA’s overreach. Our farmers know best how to manage their businesses.

This month, I joined the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) to discuss our commitment to find solutions to end the opioid crisis. The epidemic of opioid addiction in Minnesota is a serious issue that has impacted many families throughout our state and needs to be addressed.

The Legislature has made moves in the past to discourage the sale and use of opioids, but there is still more we can be doing. In the Judiciary budget bill, there is a provision that will place harsher penalties on individuals selling fentanyl. After hearing from the leaders of RALI and other passionate individuals, I will remain committed to bringing an end to the opioid epidemic in our state.

On Sunday, the city of Brooklyn Center experienced the tragedy of an officer-involved shooting. This is a tragic situation and I believe all of Minnesota’s hearts are aching for those who lost their son, father, and friend. The First Amendment secures our right to assemble and speak our minds.

However, there is no excuse for lawlessness, looting, or violence. It is important to think about the big picture and how these acts of violence can impact the community around you. I was disappointed to see rioting and destruction again by individuals looking to take advantage of a horrendous situation. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our local law enforcement, state troopers, and National Guard who have been keeping us safe through this turbulent time. Here at the capital, I have had the privilege of speaking to some of these individuals protecting our state. Thank you.

If there is any legislative issue you would like to learn more about or share your opinion on, I encourage you to reach out to my office at Sen.Gene.Dornink@Senate.MN or 651-296-5240.