A local lawmaker says he’s pleased with movement on a bill he authored to allow EMTs to become certified to assist with medications.

While the bill focuses on administering medications to people with adrenal insufficiency, a decision was made following testimony this session for the bill to include all rare diseases.

House Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) says it’s a major step forward.

“It will save lives and it will just really add a lot of security and confidence for families that are dealing with this. It’s not only children, I know an elder that’s got it as well. So, when you’ve got this it’s a real thing in your family and it’s pretty scary.”

Rep. Clark Johnson

Key parts of the legislation include requiring the individual to carry their medication and establish communication with local first responders.

“Think how often they’re so critical in our life. What they’re doing at the capitol and the political arena is very similar to what they’re doing right now on some highway or some home. They step up and they step up and they step up again. You meet a lot of really good folks in this job. The EMTs in Nicollet County that I’ve learned and the first responders at the local fire departments, they’re heroes. They step up so often and they’ve stepped up here at the capitol for their neighbors as well. It’s very impressive.”

The bill was first brought forward by Johnson to help Deann Johnson of Courtland and her daughter, Bailey who suffers from adrenal insufficiency. The life-threatening disease is caused by adrenal glands that don’t produce enough of the hormone cortisol. Both testified at the Capitol this year in favor of the bill.

“Deann was able to explain about her arrangements with the Courtland Fire Department and with Allina Health in New Ulm. In many ways to be honest with you, I think when she talked about how she’s worked with Allina Health, they basically have the sort of agreement that we’re seeking to achieve in the bill, I think that woke up the doctors that had some concerns about this. When they saw a well respected medical provider like Allina, saying they’re doing it, I think those examples were very powerful.”

Around 400 different diseases are proposed to be included in the bill.