ST. PAUL — Minnesotans with diabetes will have a safety net to provide affordable insulin beginning Wednesday, July 1.
Part of a new program to help diabetic Minnesotans gain access to insulin supplies is set to take effect Wednesday. Insulin manufacturers are set to pay for the supplies to fund it.
The measure is one of a handful of new state laws that are set to take effect this week. Other laws granting funding for farm safety measures and additional incentives for solar energy generation are also set to come online Wednesday.
Before they take effect, here's a look at what is set to change.
Critical access to insulin
Starting Wednesday, Minnesotans with diabetes will have access to a safety net program that will offer a 30-day supply of insulin for no more than $35. Diabetics with less than a seven-day supply of the drug available or who need insulin "to avoid the likelihood of suffering significant health consequences" would be eligible to access the insulin supplies.
Applicants need to be Minnesota residents, show proof of their prescription and meet certain eligibility requirements set by the state to obtain the supplies from a pharmacy. Insulin manufacturers will be required to pay back pharmacies for the supplies or provide replacements.
The bill, titled the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, was named after a Minneapolis man who died of complications of rationing his insulin because he couldn't afford a refill. Smith's family spent months at the Capitol urging lawmakers to make insulin available for uninsured Minnesotans and those who couldn't afford it.
Funding available for farm safety measures
A separate bill would pull from the state's general fund $100,000 to be used for farm safety and outreach efforts. The state will have $50,000 to distribute to farmers for grain storage safety protocols and another $50,000 will be used for grain storage safety training. Lawmakers also reinstated a grant to help prevent tractor rollover accidents. The Department of Agriculture will provide grants to those with tractors built before 1987 to retrofit them.
Prairie Island to launch net-zero energy plan
The Prairie Island Indian Community is set to get $46.2 million from the Renewable Development Fund to launch an effort to become a net-zero energy community, generating more renewable energy than the community uses. The community will generate energy through solar and geothermal sources and set up micro grids to store and distribute it.
Another $25.8 million appropriation from the Renewable Development Account will continue an incentive program for small solar energy systems.