FARGO — The Minnesota Legislature will soon start its annual session, and there’s a lot to get done. Several of the items are unfinished business from the last session. Here are some of the important bills they should pass:
- Emergency Insulin Assistance. Diabetics need insulin to stay alive. However, many are dying and dangerously cutting back on their insulin because it’s so outrageously expensive. Manufacturers should pay for a program that provides emergency access to those who can’t afford their insulin. They need help now. It’s time to stop the dying.
- A Red Flag law. A common sense effort to reduce gun violence. These laws allow judges, at the urging of law enforcement or families, to prevent dangerous people from possessing firearms for up to one year. This would not only decrease mass shootings, but also murders and suicides. For people who say the real problem is mental illness, this is a way to deal with it. Red flag laws are in effect in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
- Death with dignity. Give dying patients a real choice with the End-of-Life-Option Act. Give people in severe pain with only a few months or less to live, who have been examined by two physicians, the choice of taking a pill to end their lives. Terminally ill patients who are miserable should have the option of ending their needless suffering. Eight states and Washington, D.C., have similar laws.
- Ban gay conversion therapy for minors and vulnerable adults. This, as I have said before, is legalized torture. Being gay is not a choice. The treatment doesn’t work, and those on the receiving end are often depressed, feel ashamed, lose self-esteem and suicidal. This bogus “therapy” has been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the United States. Now, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have such bans.
- Raise the marriage age to 18. No more exceptions for 16-year-olds, who receive approval from their parents. Girls getting married that young are much more likely to be beaten by their husbands, drop out of high school, get divorced, and live a life in poverty. Getting married at 16 is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Legalize recreational marijuana. Many people are always going to use it, so regulate it and tax it. Limit the amount a person can possess. Experts say this would create thousands of jobs and bring in $60 million a year in state tax revenue. It’s now legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C.
- Increase financial assistance for long-term care. The population of seniors is dramatically rising and there aren’t enough resources to meet their needs. A constitutional amendment to raise $1 billion over two years for this purpose should be put on the ballot.
- Make Patriot’s Day a state holiday. This holiday commemorates the start of the American Revolution. Now that it’s a state holiday in Wisconsin and North Dakota, what’s Minnesota waiting for?