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.

Confirmed Cases: 95659

Reported Deaths: 2056
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26960930
Ramsey10911320
Dakota7524126
Anoka6092133
Stearns401024
Washington379955
Scott257433
Olmsted244628
Nobles197116
Blue Earth16996
Wright16327
St. Louis160241
Carver14197
Clay138940
Rice13358
Mower13285
Sherburne115014
Kandiyohi10112
Winona88718
Lyon6954
Waseca6698
Benton5523
Steele5472
Freeborn5424
Nicollet54016
Watonwan5284
Crow Wing51618
Todd4952
Chisago4941
McLeod4882
Le Sueur4674
Otter Tail4414
Beltrami4215
Martin40810
Goodhue3659
Itasca32814
Pine3280
Douglas3102
Polk3054
Isanti2971
Becker2802
Carlton2701
Morrison2492
Dodge2390
Cottonwood2250
Pipestone22510
Chippewa2141
Meeker2022
Wabasha1960
Sibley1923
Brown1912
Yellow Medicine1822
Cass1804
Rock1730
Unassigned17052
Redwood1673
Mille Lacs1643
Murray1642
Renville1518
Jackson1481
Faribault1450
Swift1381
Houston1280
Kanabec1258
Roseau1230
Koochiching1223
Fillmore1200
Pennington1191
Lincoln1110
Hubbard1031
Stevens1031
Pope940
Big Stone820
Aitkin801
Wadena690
Wilkin653
Grant614
Lake590
Lac qui Parle581
Norman540
Marshall521
Mahnomen481
Red Lake451
Traverse310
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods221
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 85533

Reported Deaths: 1305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15872262
Woodbury544764
Johnson512627
Black Hawk448990
Linn4010111
Story344417
Dubuque325741
Scott301128
Dallas278538
Pottawattamie211338
Buena Vista199112
Marshall178434
Sioux16183
Wapello133357
Webster125514
Plymouth114121
Clinton112121
Muscatine110855
Crawford10885
Cerro Gordo105721
Warren9566
Jasper83832
Des Moines7848
Marion7637
Henry7434
Tama71331
Carroll6625
Lee6377
Wright5811
Dickinson5276
Boone5078
Bremer4927
Washington45911
Louisa42915
Mahaska41219
Delaware4023
Floyd3493
Jackson3493
Franklin34818
Winneshiek3356
Clay3264
Lyon3264
Hamilton3223
Benton3101
Winnebago30313
Hardin2991
Poweshiek2958
Buchanan2791
Jones2743
Butler2702
Kossuth2700
Shelby2671
Clarke2653
Emmet26510
Allamakee2616
Clayton2523
Chickasaw2500
Sac2500
Cherokee2492
Cedar2461
Guthrie2456
Fayette2222
Harrison2223
Grundy2203
Madison2192
Iowa2091
Palo Alto2020
Humboldt1903
Mitchell1900
Howard1886
Hancock1842
Calhoun1833
Mills1801
Page1700
Cass1682
Osceola1610
Monroe15911
Pocahontas1592
Lucas1566
Monona1531
Jefferson1381
Appanoose1363
Union1353
Taylor1301
Davis1244
Ida1221
Fremont1180
Van Buren1141
Keokuk1091
Worth1080
Greene1010
Montgomery965
Wayne862
Audubon821
Adair721
Decatur670
Ringgold502
Adams330
Unassigned170
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