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Opioids, distracted driving bills pass in the House

March 18, 2019 09:54 PM

The Minnesota House took up three bills on Monday that all have wide public interest. The bills address the opioid crisis, hands-free only cellphone use and "snow days" school legislation.

The opioids bill calls for a charge on pharmaceutical companies to help pay for an opioids advisory council along with prevention and treatment programs.

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"By passing this bill today, we can send a message of hope," said Rep. Liz Olson, (DFL-Duluth). "A message to the communities and families impacted that we can work together to prevent future tragedies. We're saying today there is hope in prevention, treatment and recovery and this bill addresses strategies for each of these."

The opioids bill passed the house during a 94 to 34 vote. 

The "hands-free" cellphone bill would address the problem of distracted driving. Several relatives of people killed in distracted driving accidents have lobbied for this bill for several years.

The House passed the bill during a 106 to 21 vote. 

"This is my daughter," says Vijay Dixit, holding a picture of his daughter who was killed by a distracted driver in 2007. "This is the face of that person who I'm grieving for. But what caused her fatality was an action by another teenager."

The "snow days" bill would relieve school districts from a law that requires them to add make-up days when school is cancelled for bad weather.

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Tom Hauser

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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