Slow recovery from a serious liver injury is keeping state Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-50A) away from the Minnesota House of Representives, the third-term legislator said in a statement Thursday.
"I am recovering from a rare and severe liver injury, caused by an anti-inflammatory medication I was prescribed for a hand sprain," Laine wrote in response to an inquiry about her absence from the House for more than a month. "The recovery is slow, but I am getting better and hope to make a full recovery soon."
According to House records, Laine has not been present since Jan. 26. In her statement, Laine said she has been communicating with constituents and colleagues from home and has online access to committee meetings.
Laine is in her third term representing House District 50A, which includes the western and southern Fridley as well as Columbia Heights and Hilltop (see map).
Laine this session in a January interview. Some she termed "conversation pieces" because she said she didn't expect support from Republicans, who hold the majority of seats in the state House.
So far Laine has chief-authored one bill, providing for state funding to Springbrook Nature Center. It was introduced Feb. 17, one of the days she missed at the Capitol. She has also signed on as co-author for three other bills, all introduced before her period of absence.
Here is the full text of the statement Laine sent to Fridley Patch March 3:
Not only has this legislative session been different as a member of the minority, but I have also been facing a personal challenge. I am recovering from a rare and severe liver injury, caused by an anti-inflammatory medication I was prescribed for a hand sprain. The recovery is slow, but I am getting better and hope to make a full recovery soon. In the meantime I continue working to represent our community.
I am working on constituent emails and issues from my home office. I am in contact with my colleagues and have access to meetings on-line. As always, my concern is for a balanced budget that meets my priorities of jobs for our working families, quality in our Minnesota schools, and protection of our environment. I will also continue to fight for affordable healthcare for every Minnesotan.
I have once again authored a bill to obtain bonding support for Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley. It is imperative that one of these years we assist this jewel in our midst with the financial support it needs to continue to serve us all. I will also be authoring a bill to insist on oversight and accountability in our state health care contracts with managed care plans. This will continue my work from last session in seeking to save the state millions of dollars through common sense accountability.
Other bills I support as a co-author include seeking to improve graduation rates by establishing minimum counselor to student ratios and providing grant funding to counsel our most at-risk high school students. I also remain as one of the key authors of the bill I have strongly supported each year I have been in office, the Minnesota Health Plan, our own Minnesota version of a way to ensure everybody has access to affordable healthcare.
It has been a different experience working in the minority, but my DFL colleagues are united with Governor Dayton to continue to fight to support our most vulnerable, to protect our environment, and to represent the needs of our working families. I am eager to continue this work in person, and will be physically present at the House as soon as my doctor gives me the green light.
In the meantime, I appreciate all the notes and calls with good wishes for my recovery.
Rep. Carolyn Laine