Sen. Karla Bigham
Special session needed

By State Sen. Karla Bigham

The 2022 Legislative Session adjourned in the very early morning on Monday, May 23rd. With a $9.25 billion budget surplus, we have a historic opportunity to address Minnesotans' needs. But the session adjourned without finalizing several key bills important to Minnesotans like taxes, education, and investments in infrastructure. I'm disappointed in the lack of urgency in getting these bills to the finish line. I am committed to finishing what we were entrusted to do by our constituents and I'm advocating for a special session.

There were several provisions the Legislature did pass in the final hours of the regular session. Last year the Star Tribune wrote a series about the awful practice of people in Minnesota being conned out of their rightful settlements following accidents. The bill I worked on for months with stakeholders and my colleagues put guardrails on the settlement process and provided consumer protections for vulnerable Minnesotans. It is now on its way to being signed into law by Governor Walz.

I spoke with Kare 11 about the passage of legislation to reform the state's gap in services for mentally ill defendants and provide supervision of these individuals in the criminal justice system. This was another bipartisan effort and is a massive step forward in protecting our communities. A new system of trained individuals will help people that used to fall through the gap navigate treatment and find resources. The bill gives judges new authority to require individuals to participate in competency restoration programs and will prohibit people from legally buying guns who are found incompetent to stand trial.

A series of minor but necessary fixes to Minnesota's hemp and CBD laws also passed. We clarified a Minnesota statute enacted recently to conform to the federal 2018 Farm Bill that legalized the selling and farming of hemp products. There are now better guidelines of what products can be sold with hempderived substances, limits on THC and CBD concentrations, and requirements for testing and labeling. Along with the age requirement to be 21 to purchase these products and the required childproof packaging, consumers can be assured that products from this upandcoming industry in Minnesota are safe.

June 1, 2022