News from Representative Tom Emmer

Dear Friend,

A month into the 117th Congress, I continue to outline some of my main policy priorities for the next two years. Last week, I introduced legislation to eradicate elder abuse, promote transparency and oversight of the financial services sector, and prevent the re-traumatization of victims of sexual assault.

Heading back to Washington this week, the House is expected to consider a bill impacting national apprenticeships and potentially take the first steps toward another coronavirus aid package. As always, I welcome your input on these topics!

Read on to learn more about what we accomplished last week and what we’re up to this week!

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault

I have been working for years to reduce sexual assault crimes and provide support for the victims involved. For fellow Minnesotan, Abby Honold, this crime happened when she was a student at the University of Minnesota. When she was questioned by law enforcement, the experience was clouded with trauma, and Abby struggled to recall details of the assault that would have brought the perpetrator to justice. 

For many survivors of sexual assault, the story would end here and the crime perpetrated against Abby would not have been met with justice.

This is all too common. When someone experiences trauma, the cognitive part of their brain which records events, the prefrontal cortex, shuts down. Interview techniques to acquire needed facts from victims are designed to tap into this part of the brain, leaving those who have experienced trauma unable to recall critical details and information to bring justice to their perpetrator.

Fortunately for Abby, her nurse, Linda Walther, was trained in a technique known as Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI). Linda accessed another part of Abby’s brain by asking questions about what she smelled, tasted, heard, and other sensory information.

Through Linda’s compassion and expertise, Abby was able to share her experience without being re-traumatized. She then worked with Officer Kevin Randolph in prosecuting her perpetrator. 

Trauma-informed care is an evidence-based practice that enables professionals like law enforcement and first responders to account for a survivor’s trauma and help pinpoint key details that can help bring criminals to justice while avoiding re-traumatization.


When I spoke to Abby for the first time in 2017, I knew this legislation was going to be one of my top priorities in Congress.

Last week, I joined Senator Amy Klobuchar to introduce legislation to promote the use of trauma-informed techniques by law enforcement when responding to crimes of sexual violence. 

The Abby Honold Act would establish a demonstration program for law enforcement that incorporates trauma-informed techniques and evidence-based practices in training on responding to sexual assault crimes. By preventing re-traumatization of the victim and improving communication between victims and law enforcement officers, the bill would increase the likelihood of successfully investigating and prosecuting alleged sexual assault crimes.

Specifically, the bill would require the Justice Department to award grants over the next two fiscal years to law enforcement agencies to implement evidence-based or promising practices to incorporate trauma-informed techniques in responding to sexual assault cases.


Congressman Emmer meeting with Abby Honold and her nurse, Linda Walther.

Read more about the Abby Honold Act here.

Eradicating Elder Abuse 

In 2018, the Star Tribune uncovered that the vast majority of complaints to the Minnesota Department of Health regarding elder abuse were never resolved, and perpetrators were not brought to justice due to the lack of staff, experience, and time. This backlog was unacceptable, and in response, I introduced legislation last Congress to support law enforcement, first responders, and community groups in their mission to eradicate elder abuse.

The Senior abuse Training & Offense Prevention (STOP) Act would create a grant program that supports training, multidisciplinary coordination, and even new law enforcement divisions dedicated to addressing elder abuse. Groups that combat elder abuse could apply for a grant to expand and improve their programs. 

The grants would be administered and awarded by the Department of Justice on a competitive basis. A portion of the awarded funds would also go towards measuring the effectiveness of the effort to combat elder abuse.


I am dedicated to ensuring that elder abuse prevention is a top priority for our communities, our state, and our government. We must do everything within our power to detect, report, and prevent these crimes.

You can read the STOP Act here and more about my work for seniors here

Promoting Transparency and Oversight of Financial Regulators

As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I have the privilege of ensuring that the regulations and banking system work for you and Main Street America.

I introduced the first bills in this Committee last week. The policies include some priority legislation that will provide additional regulatory oversight, ensuring our federal agencies are working to improve our economy.


I introduced the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) Reform Act, which enhances congressional oversight of FSOC, an often unchecked organization that has the power to enforce new regulations on financial institutions. You can read more about this effort here.


I also introduced the CFPB Dual Mandate and Economic Analysis Act which establishes a focus on competition and consumer choice at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), while continuing to focus on fairness and transparency. You can read more about it here.

Regulation for Digital Assets to Inspire Innovation

This week, I joined the U.S. Chamber to talk about digital assets. Digitization of goods and services can change the way we bank, do business, and interact with each other.   


As the Ranking Member on the Financial Technology Task Force and Co-Chair of the Blockchain Caucus, I am particularly focused on financial technology and blockchain. Innovation is central to our values in America, and I am determined to ensure it is not overregulated before it becomes the revolutionary technology we need. 

This virtual event discussed how digital assets and blockchain innovation is an emerging technology that can increase efficiencies and allow for greater individual control of their money. Watch here!

Recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

This week, we recognize Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. I partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota to read a children’s mental health book to raise that awareness. I’ll be posting it on my Twitter later this week! Follow me @RepTomEmmer.


I also wanted to share some resources with you here to help identify and get the resources you and your family need for your children:

  • For information on mental health conditions prevalent in children, visit here.
  • To read research about children’s mental health, visit here.
  • Warning signs to be on the lookout for can be found here.
  • More information on conditions that affect children can be found here.
  • For resource groups for parents of children struggling with mental illness, visit here.
Crisis Lines:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Lifeline provides 24-hour, toll-free, and confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. Support is available in English and Spanish and via live chat.
  • Disaster Distress Hotline: People affected by any disaster or tragedy can call this helpline, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to receive immediate counseling. Call 1-800-985-5990, or text "TalkwithUs" to 66746, to connect with a trained professional from the closest crisis counseling center within the network.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 for free and confidential support 24 hours a day throughout the U.S.
  • TXT 4 HELP: Created by National Safe Place, this nationwide, 24-hour text service provides support for teens in crisis.

Protecting the Unborn

Last month, we honored the sanctity of life by reflecting on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, to legalize abortion which occurred on January 22, 1973. This year marks 48 years since the case was decided, and though we are just at the start of the new legislative session, I have already begun several efforts to protect the unborn.

I have become a co-sponsor of a series of bills to protect the right to life in the first few weeks of the 117th Congress. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act will ban health care practitioners from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act will prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions, an important step in ensuring this grant funding does not harm the unborn. Taxpayer dollars should not be allocated to a practice that millions of Americans find an abhorrent affront to humanity. 

I also a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate to defend the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. I also wrote to the Biden Administration to end the federal funding of abortions overseas. Unfortunately, President Biden discontinued the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy, which prevented taxpayer-funded global health programs from financing foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform, actively promote, or lobby for abortion as a method of family planning.

We have lost more than 60 million unborn babies in the decades since Roe v. Wade. I will continue to advocate for the sanctity of life and the protection of the unborn.

Until next year, if you are in need of assistance or would like to share your thoughts with me, please write me an e-mail here.

To keep up with what we’re doing in Washington, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!


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