State House votes down bill to allocate $500k to fight Minnesota measles outbreak

The Minnesota House rejected a measure to provide $500,000 to communities experiencing outbreaks of infectious disease via a two-year grant program Monday amid an ongoing measles outbreak that has sickened more than 30 state residents, according to the Star Tribune.

The bill was presented by Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, during a House floor session, bypassing the usual committee hearing process. Ms. Omar pushed for an immediate vote on the bill due to the continued growth of the state's ongoing measles outbreak.

Among the 34 individuals sickened, a majority of the cases have occurred in children under five years of age.

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"The best thing we can do today is to act and make sure no more children are put in harm's way," said Ms. Omar, according to the Star Tribune.

Several Republicans spoke against the bill, arguing the measure hadn't been appropriately vetted and wouldn't do much to address the current outbreak because the funds wouldn't kick in until the onset of fiscal year 2018 in July.

"If I felt that passing this and suspending the rules would mean one person did not die, did not get sick, I would absolutely support suspending the rules," said Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, according to the Star Tribune. "But the idea of suspending the rules is that there is an emergency and we need to act now ... none of money is available for at least two months."

Twenty-nine of the measles cases associated with the outbreak have occurred in members of the state's Somalian population, which carries below average rates of immunization adherence. Funds from the proposed legislation would be designated to help administer vaccines to more members of the community. The measure was shot down in a 59-73 vote, according to the Star Tribune.

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Arizona sees spike in HIV rates 
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