STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Walz to push gun control, insulin affordability in 2020

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz - AP image

With summer winding down, Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he's looking ahead toward the 2020 legislative session, with plans to push proposals for making insulin affordable, reducing gun violence, clean energy and criminal justice reform.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 7:50 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — With summer winding down, Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he's looking ahead toward the 2020 legislative session, with plans to push proposals for making insulin affordable, reducing gun violence, clean energy and criminal justice reform.

The Democratic governor said in an interview with The Associated Press that he's currently taking a "hard look" at each state agency to see what they could do better and where legislation might be needed. He said he's also reaching out to stakeholders to start building coalitions to support the policy proposals that he plans to advance in the next session, which convenes Feb. 11, 2020.

Walz said he still thinks there's a chance for a one-day special session soon to pass funding for emergency insulin supplies, which failed to pass in the closing hours of the 2019 session due to disagreements over how to fund it. He said he plans another push for gun safety legislation, meaning universal background checks and a "red flag" law to temporarily take guns from people judged to be a threat to themselves or others, which hit a roadblock in the GOP-controlled Senate.

"I can't do these alone," he said. "It's going to take the House and the Senate. It seems like there's an appetite to tackle insulin, (we're) probably closer there than on gun safety. But we'll still bring it up."

The governor noted that leaders of the Democratic-controlled House are currently holding listening sessions on insulin and that Speaker Melissa Hortman has said they'll have a bill ready late this month. Senate Republican leaders have called a news conference for Thursday to roll out their own insulin plan.

Walz also said he expects to propose a public works borrowing bill, also known as a bonding bill, at least as big as the $1.27 billion package he proposed last session, which failed to get traction in a year when passing a budget was the top priority. Chances will be better in 2020 because the Legislature traditionally devotes even-numbered years to bonding bills.

While President Donald Trump has sent mixed signals on what national gun legislation he might support, Walz said he thinks there's enough "political and public will" to enact it in Minnesota. He said the 2020 elections, when the Senate GOP's thin majority will be at stake, could foster bipartisan cooperation by pressuring suburban Republicans. Guns were an issue when Democrats took control of the Minnesota House in 2018 by ejecting numerous suburban Republicans, when the Senate was not up for re-election.

"For the Republican Senate to maintain its majority it has got to win in the suburbs," he said.

While the governor said he expects the presidential race to overshadow the 2020 elections, he dismissed Trump's claims that he can win in historically blue Minnesota, even though the president came in 2016.

"He can't, but I encourage him to try," he said. "... This is about turnout. We found out what happened when we stayed home in 2016. We also found out what happens when we show up in 2018."

Walz also said he'll be back with his Clean Energy First proposal to require that Minnesota electrical utilities go carbon-free by 2050, which drew opposition last session from rural utilities.

And he said he expects to propose a criminal justice reform package, a favorite cause of first lady Gwen Walz. He said it's likely to include a project patterned after one in New York state that has slashed recidivism by putting inmates through rigorous college degree programs.

The first lady came under criticism while promoting the idea at a forum at Twin Cities Public Television last May. Minnesota Public Radio reported Monday that she was taken aback by a moderator's questions about race, apparently unprepared to talk about the racial aspects of criminal justice. The governor said racial inequities will be part of the conversation going forward.

"These are always hard conversations. They're never far from us. I think we continue to learn and listen to communities and move forward," he said. "I'm just proud that I've got a partner and we've got a first lady that's willing to take on the hardest issues."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 457317

Reported Deaths: 6192
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin948721509
Ramsey40815753
Dakota33748357
Anoka31494369
Washington20678239
Stearns18152190
St. Louis14050252
Scott1227999
Wright11850108
Olmsted1089875
Sherburne833070
Carver707039
Clay662184
Rice627375
Kandiyohi560572
Blue Earth550833
Crow Wing491478
Otter Tail465669
Chisago463038
Benton425088
Winona396148
Douglas380966
Mower376829
Nobles375247
Goodhue359864
Polk331060
McLeod329547
Beltrami317348
Morrison314845
Lyon306341
Becker290739
Itasca288643
Isanti286843
Carlton285643
Steele280610
Pine271515
Freeborn255723
Todd233730
Nicollet230939
Brown219434
Mille Lacs216545
Le Sueur215616
Cass211324
Meeker201933
Waseca194016
Wabasha17563
Martin172426
Roseau166717
Hubbard151638
Houston142214
Redwood141727
Dodge14074
Renville139240
Chippewa133432
Cottonwood129618
Fillmore12868
Wadena120918
Rock112512
Aitkin111533
Faribault110616
Sibley11037
Watonwan10738
Pennington101216
Kanabec100218
Pipestone97723
Yellow Medicine95117
Murray9167
Jackson87910
Swift85018
Pope7495
Stevens7078
Marshall70415
Clearwater68814
Lake66515
Lac qui Parle66216
Wilkin63510
Koochiching61010
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Grant4418
Unassigned43668
Norman4268
Mahnomen4177
Kittson37720
Red Lake3224
Traverse2693
Lake of the Woods1991
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314395

Reported Deaths: 4445
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk47367465
Linn18252280
Scott16058172
Black Hawk14235243
Woodbury13178182
Johnson1238554
Dubuque11743161
Pottawattamie9225115
Dallas920372
Story890538
Cerro Gordo477672
Webster475677
Warren467039
Clinton463768
Sioux461557
Marshall434362
Des Moines399743
Buena Vista398131
Muscatine398079
Wapello355198
Plymouth354270
Jasper335859
Lee330333
Marion313553
Jones276150
Henry270231
Carroll259234
Bremer251448
Crawford236424
Boone225518
Washington225433
Benton215250
Mahaska200437
Jackson196932
Tama192259
Dickinson189629
Kossuth182244
Delaware177736
Clay173921
Fayette168424
Wright167824
Buchanan164024
Hamilton163130
Winneshiek163020
Hardin159531
Harrison159262
Cedar157019
Clayton154749
Butler152824
Page149115
Floyd142436
Cherokee140827
Mills139417
Lyon138733
Poweshiek136724
Hancock133324
Allamakee131630
Iowa129222
Madison126810
Calhoun12439
Grundy123628
Winnebago123429
Jefferson123125
Louisa117531
Mitchell117437
Cass115844
Chickasaw114112
Appanoose113640
Sac113615
Union113123
Emmet111332
Shelby108527
Humboldt107919
Guthrie104824
Unassigned10420
Franklin104118
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery90124
Howard86719
Keokuk86626
Monroe83020
Clarke8239
Pocahontas78811
Ida76930
Monona71218
Davis70721
Adair69920
Greene6997
Lucas67110
Osceola65111
Worth6254
Taylor6069
Fremont5296
Van Buren51015
Decatur5024
Ringgold46611
Audubon4288
Wayne42221
Adams3023
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 3°
Feels Like: 9°
Mason City
Clear
-2° wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 0°
Feels Like: -2°
Albert Lea
Clear
wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 2°
Feels Like: 1°
Austin
Clear
wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 3°
Feels Like: 3°
Charles City
Clear
wxIcon
Hi: 19° Lo: 1°
Feels Like: 1°
Tracking a potential storm this weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events