2019 Spring news
2019 Minnesota State Legislature Season
This is an important legislative season in Minnesota. Between now and the end of session in June, our legislators must pass a two-year, balanced budget. In addition to allocating spending, legislators are also debating bills that potentially have big affects on our communities.
As tobacco control and prevention advocates and LGBTQ+ individuals focused on health equity and access for our communities, here are some of the bills we're watching.
Tobacco 21 (HF331/SF463): Would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to twenty-one.
Strengthening the MN Clean Indoor Air Act (SF462/HF349): Would expand the definition of smoking to ensure Minnesota’s smoke-free indoor air law covers the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited.
Funding for Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (HF350/SF461): Would provide funding for Tobacco Cessation Services. If Minnesota does not fund a statewide service this year, it will become the only state in the nation not providing one.
Comprehensive Sex Education (HF1414): Would require all school districts to provide Responsible Family Life Education programs that include human development and sexuality education that is age-appropriate and medically accurate and that develops skills to prevent and reduce sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies, and prevention of sexual violence.
Mental Health Protections Act (SF83/HF12): Would protect LGBTQ Minnesotans from Harmful Conversion Therapy and ensure that LGBTQ people receive mental healthcare that is ethical, affirming and culturally competent.
To learn more about these issues, check out Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, OutFront MN, Comprehensive Sex Education Action Alerts, and the HIV Action Network - a coalition of individuals living with HIV, allies, and community-based agencies and led by our parent organization, JustUs Health.
Our friends down the street - the Association of Non-Smokers Minnesota - have been working on a new campaign to highlight how Corporate Tobacco targets our communities with cheap tobacco. Did you know that Tobacco companies spent $7.7 BILLION in 2016 to reduce the price of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco for consumers. That is nearly $900,000 every hour!
In particular, tobacco coupons and discounts make it more likely that young people will become addicted to tobacco and less likely current smokers will be able to quit. Young and low income smokers are more likely to use tobacco coupons or promotions.