Fly gobbledygook free!
Nolan's Airline Consumer Rights Measures Pass House as Part of FAA Reauthorization Bill
Bill also includes Nolan's amendment to help community airports expand service to new areas
My successful amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act requires U.S. airlines to provide a simple, one-page explanation of passenger rights when flights are cancelled or delayed, when bags are lost, or when other problems occur. European Union nations instituted a similar requirement many years ago.
With the Holiday traveling season approaching fast, U.S. airline passengers got a big win last week as the House passed my bipartisan amendment requiring airlines to provide a simple one-page explanation of their consumer rights. Coming as part of the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this is a long overdue, common sense fix will make airline travel a little easier for everyone.
The FAA bill also included my amendment to fully fund at $10 million the Small Community Air Service Development Program, which helps airports like Duluth International and regional airports like those in Brainerd, Bemidji, International Falls and Hibbing-Chisholm boost good-paying jobs, commerce, and tourism by connecting with markets where access to the national air transportation system is limited.
Similar to what the European Union has required from airlines for years, the passenger rights “one-pager” will be widely available at airports and online, and explain rights and compensation when flights are cancelled or delayed, when passengers are denied boarding due to overbooking, or when bags are lost. It will also include the rights of those traveling with limited mobility due to illness or injury.
As you may recall, the amendment arose from a hearing I requested last spring to investigate mounting consumer complaints against the airlines. During the hearing, consumer representatives pointed out that many major airlines bury their consumer protection policies amidst 37,000 pages of online gobbledygook that would require a team of high-priced lawyers to translate.
It’s also important to note that the final FAA bill did NOT include a risky Republican plan – which Democrats fought tooth and nail – to privatize Air Traffic Control and turn billions of dollars in taxpayer's money and assets over to profiteers to run our nation's airspace operations.
This GOP plan would have turned over, free of charge, all federal air traffic control facilities and equipment to private, for-profit corporations bent on cutting costs and rewarding investors – not protecting the public interest. Some 32,000 hard working, highly trained Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) employees would have transferred to the private sector, with their jobs in question.
As I've noted many times before, even when you're stuck in the middle seat in the back of the plane, you have to admit that American aviation is pretty amazing. On any given day, the FAA and the nation's air traffic controllers safely handle about 65,000 flightscarrying some 2 million passengers; 740 million passengers every year. That's nothing short of remarkable.
We will keep you posted as events proceed. Meanwhile, I want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact any of our offices listed below or send me an email.
Nolan Provision to Advance Opioid Recovery Passes House
My successful provision to the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) will allow pharmacists and physicians to team up and ensure that patients can safely receive new, long-lasting injectable forms of medication to help with their recovery from opioid addiction.
Opioid abuse kills some 43,000 Americans every year, but last week, we took an important step toward reducing that terrible number and saving precious lives. As part of a larger bipartisan package of opioid-related measures designed to expand access to treatment, the House passed my provision to allow pharmacists and physicians to team up and ensure that patients can safely receive new, long-lasting injectible forms of medication to help with their recovery from opioid addiction.
By way of background, current law stipulates that pharmacists can only dispense these medications directly to patients –not physicians. Our provision changes the Controlled Substances Act to allow pharmacists to dispense these treatments directly to doctors, who can then administer the treatment to the patient in an office setting coupled with behavioral counseling and therapy. That way, patients can be assured a safe, steady dosage of medicine.
Nolan Introduces "No Shame - No Blame" Bill to Ban Student Lunch Shaming and Hold Districts Accountable
Under this measure, no student would ever be publicly humiliated or punished in a school cafeteria – or anywhere else – because their parents can’t afford to pay for their meal. No student would ever be denied the ability to participate in extracurricular activities, made to wear wristbands, or have their lunch thrown out as their friends look on.
With some 54 million elementary and secondary students now back in school, I have just introduced the “No Shame-No Blame Act of 2018” to make the terrible and unnecessary practice of student “lunch shaming” a violation of federal law.
Under this measure, no student would ever be publicly humiliated or punished in a school cafeteria – or anywhere else – because their parents can’t afford to pay for their meal. No student would ever be denied the ability to participate in extracurricular school activities, made to wear wristbands, or have their lunch thrown out as their friends look on.
Good nutrition and successful kids go hand in hand. But for many students across the country, lunch shaming stands between them and their only good meal of the day. So our measure would require school districts violating the law to use excess school administrative funds to pay off and forgive student lunch debt when families can’t afford to pay.
In addition, the No Shame-No Blame Act does four more things:
1. Requires all communications relating to debts be directed to the parent or guardian – not the student.
2. Stipulates that school districts review, publish, and distribute – on an annual basis – the policy guidelines relating to school lunch debts, insufficient funds to purchase meals, available meals, and food programs or resources.
3. Mandates that each state submit to the Department of Education a list of any violation by a school or school district, as well as the amount of student meal debt accumulated over the previous school year.
4. Orders the Secretary of Education to publish a list of those violations online via the Department’s website.
Meanwhile, we are still working hard to build support for House Resolution 913, to put Congress on record in support of a federal, publicly funded program to provide every child with a school lunch, free of charge.
GOP Leaders Fail to Reauthorize Land and Water Conservation Fund
Since Congress established the Land & Water Conservation Fund in 1965, Minnesota has received an inflation-adjusted $220 million to help expand access to public lands for hunting, fishing, boating and recreation.
Shame on Republican leaders for failing to allow the House to take up reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), allowing the 53-year-old program to expire over the weekend.
Widely recognized as one of the nation’s most successful outdoor recreation and conservation programs, the fund doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. Instead, it takes $900 million in annual royalties oil and gas companies pay to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf - and invests that money to expand access to public lands for hunting and recreation, conserve natural habitat, build and repair local parks and playgrounds, and acquire historic sites, including battlefields of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
In fact, since Congress established the fund in 1965, Minnesota has received an inflation-adjusted $220 million – with many of the grants matched by state and local money – helping generate thousands of good-paying jobs in our multi-billion dollar tourist and hospitality industry.
Make no mistake – I will be helping to lead the fight to quickly reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as pass legislation I have cosponsored to make the authorization permanent.
GRANT WATCH:$55,571 to Help Homeless Native American Veterans
Under our watch, Minnesota’s 8th District has received more than $1.2 billion in federal grants for projects that create good paying jobs and make life better for people.
We were pleased to announce more important grants for Minnesota's 8th districtlast week.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - via the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) - announced that the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Housing Authority will receive a $55,571 grant renewal to help homeless Native American Veterans connect with resources to assist in ending their homelessness.
The HUD-VASH program will provide rental assistance and supportive services to Native American Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness living on or near a reservation or other Tribal areas.
Veterans have answered our Nation’s call to serve. In return, advocates in Housing and Urban Development, the Veterans Administration, and our office are answering their calls when they need help.
To help keep you updated, we will be using the Monday Report to highlight important federal grants for the 8th District.
Our Week in DC
Volunteers representing the American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network were out in D.C. meeting with their respective Members of Congress advocating for increased funding and awareness to fund treatments to fight and ultimately cure cancer. Nolan Legislative Director Will Mitchell met with volunteers to discuss efforts I am taking to combat the cancer epidemic.
The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) held a congressional expo at the House Rayburn Office Building last week to illustrate the importance of programs such as the National Wildlife Refuge System. This vast system of public lands and waters offers Americans a place to hunt, fish, hike, and watch wildlife. Jennie McNicoll, of the National Wildlife Refuge, is pictured here showing off a Western Screech Owl, native to North and Central America.
Our Week in Two Harbors
Hats off to the Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force for their hard work and dedication in developing the “End the Demand” campaign and unveiling a billboard on Highway 61, south of Two Harbors, drawing attention to the terrible scourge of sex trafficking. On any given day, this plague on our society threatens and victimizes an estimated 250,000 children – most of whom are young girls between the ages of 12 and 14. We need to put a stop to it, and in doing so extend Minnesota’s model of treating these young people as the victims they are and not as criminals. Pictured here is District 3B Minnesota State Representative Mary Murphy addressing the group on efforts the Minnesota House of Representatives is taking to put an end to sex trafficking. Nolan District Director Jeff Anderson attended this event on my behalf and spoke to the group.
Our Week in North Branch
Tiffany Determan - the Isanti County Soil Water Conservation District Director - led a meeting on developing a watershed conservation plan at the North Branch Library last week. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended on my behalf.
GPS 45:93 - a Regional Economic Development Organization - held their annual meeting at Lakes EMS in North Branch. President of the organization, Nancy Hoffman, updated members of the organization on several economic development related topics. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen attended the meeting.
Our Week in Taylor Falls
Every year the Chisago County Enviromental Services hosts a 'Water Festival' for every 5th grader in the county. Public, private and home schooled students attend. Students learn about the importance of water. Pictured above Nolan Congressional Field Representative Rick Olseen is teaching a group about “The Secret Insides of Fish.” The Minnesota DNR donated some Carp and Northern Pike that Olseen dissected with the students as they learned about the fish and how their internal organs work.
Our Week in Grand Rapids
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) held a StandDown in Grand Rapids for area military Veterans. The event provides dozens of resources to our Veterans including free lunch, haircuts, VA benefit assistance, legal aid, housing information and so much more. Our military Veterans and their families deserve nothing but the best from our state and federal government and MACV plays a crucial role in making sure that happens. Pictured left to right: Paul Pederson, Mac-V Outreach Director; Jerry Nurnberger, U.S. Army Retired Specialist 4th Class; Ken Merwin, U.S. Army Retired Private First Class; Willy Nuorala, U.S. Army Retired Sergeant E-5; Luke St. Germain, Itasca County Veteran Service Officer.
Our Week in Chisholm
Hundreds of teachers, local residents, elected officials, and community leaders gathered at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm to rally for a fair contract. Nolan Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the rally and captured this photo.
Our Week in Nashwauk
It was a standing room only at a Cloverdale Town Hall meeting on Monday where Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr addressed hundreds of local residents, elected officials, business representatives, and Steelworkers - packed into the meeting hall - about the future of iron ore mining at the former Essar Steel Minnesota project site in Nashwauk.
My Congressional Field Representative Tom Whiteside attended the meeting and captured this photo of Governor Dayton answering questions from the audience. I continue to monitor the economic well-being of the 8th Congressional District and projects such as this.
Ely Native Earns Spot in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Ely native Daniel Dremel is pictured here carrying a canoe above his head as he competes in the 2018 Ely Full Marathon Canoe Portage Division, which consists of 26.2 miles of winding trails and beautiful views. Photo credit: Ely Echo.
There are lots of ways to get in the famous Guinness Book of World Records and none of them are easy. Ely's Daniel Drehmel knows that's true after he set the WORLD RECORD competing in the 26.2 mile Ely Full Marathon last week - while carrying a canoe! Drehmel finished the race in 5 hours 23 minutes and 48 seconds. That's quite the achievement! Congratulations to all of the 2018 Ely Marathon participants and event coordinators for another great year!