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DFL decries omission of emergency insulin provision; GOP cites clerical error

Thursday, May 23, despite bipartisan support in the House and Senate for the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, Senate Republicans did not include the provision in the health and human services omnibus bill.

State Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, described its omission as a clerical error.

Subsequently, Senate Republicans declined to reopen negotiations to reach an agreement. Rep. Michael Howard, DFL-Richfield, author of Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, released the following statement:

"Alec Smith should have been celebrating his 28th birthday this week," Howard stated in a news release. "But he died rationing his insulin because he couldn't afford it. We have a responsibility as legislators to do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have shirked that responsibility and killed the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act this session.

"This is devastating news for Alec's parents, Nicole Smith-Holt and James Holt, who have been fighting tirelessly to ensure no one suffers the same fate as their son, and to the thousands of Minnesotans who struggle to afford the insulin they need to survive," the statement continued. "It is all the more devastating because there is no compelling reason why we shouldn't have taken action and passed this bill.

"Senate Republicans passed a version of Alec's Bill on a vote of 65-0 and the House had offered to accept a position substantially similar. Senate Republicans owe Minnesotans an explanation for why they would go out of their way to stop such an important, lifesaving bill that had broad, bipartisan support. Minnesotans will not accept what is indefensible," Howard's statement concluded. "We aren't going anywhere. We will only get louder. We will only get stronger. And we won't stop until every Minnesotan has access to the insulin they need to survive."