Political Notebook: Advocates for Alzheimer's research head to Capitol

Efforts to boost funding for Alzheimer’s disease research and education take center stage this week at the Capitol with a Rochester lawmaker playing a central role.

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Efforts to boost funding for Alzheimer's disease research and education take center stage this week at the Capitol with a Rochester lawmaker playing a central role.

On Wednesday, the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter is sponsoring a rally in St. Paul in support of a bill being introduced by Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester. That measure would establish $5 million in competitive grants for research into Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. It would also set aside roughly $750,000 in statewide, regional and local grants to support public information campaigns about dementia. Those campaigns would center on informing the public about the benefits of early diagnosis and connect caregivers and patients with resources.

"You can't have someone just get a diagnosis of dementia and then send them home. So it's very important that we get caregivers associated and connected to the resources available to them," Nelson said.

The Rochester Republican plans to introduce her Alzheimer's research bill Tuesday in the Minnesota Senate. Rep. Deb Kiel, R-Crookston,is expected to introduce a companion bill in the House.

For Nelson, the cause of Alzheimer's research funding is a particularly personal one. Her 83-year-old father, Norman Huse, is battling the disease.


"He's in the end of stages of this disease, so we've seen this memory-robbing disease in all its forms," she said.

Joining Nelson at the rally to push for the bill will be Dr. Ron Petersen, director of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.

Tax cuts on the way

The Minnesota Senate is expected to pass $20 million in tax cuts this week. The measure would conform Minnesota's tax laws with the federal tax code. Tucked within the bill are tax cuts for homeowners, teachers and students. It also includes a legislative fix to Destination Medical Center's funding formula.

If the Senate acts Tuesday, then the tax cut bill would head to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's desk on the same day tax filing opens in the state. But Senate leaders have warned it might have to be delayed until Thursday. In that case, people who file their taxes before Thursday may have to file amended returns.

Talking property taxes

Mazeppa Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski is setting up listening sessions across the state seeking input on property taxes.

Drazkowski, who is chairman of the Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, said he wants a chance to hear from people across the state about the impact of property tax increases. One of those meetings will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Stewartville Civic Center. Joining Drazkowski will be Republican Reps. Nels Pierson, of Rochester, and Duane Quam, of Byron.

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