Citing his lead role in passing groundbreaking legislation to curb the sale of synthetic drugs in Minnesota, the state's lobbying arm for rank-and-file police officers has named Rep. Erik Simonson the 2014 Legislator of the Year.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) announced the award for Simonson, DFL-Duluth, on Monday, citing the career firefighter's dedication to fighting crime since he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2012.
"Rep. Simonson has worked side-by-side with law enforcement while serving in the Legislature and has become a leader on public safety issues at the State Capitol," said MPPOA Executive Director Dennis Flaherty.
In May 2013, Simonson was appoitned chair of the Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs, which after months of hearings and traveling the state to hear Minnesotans' stories, passed legislation this year that aims cut the flow of synthetic drugs into the state. The new law grants cease and desist powers to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, allowing them to immediately seize suspected synthetic drugs from businesses that sell them. The law also expands the definition of synthetic drugs to enable easier enforcement. The legislation is the first of its kind and has become a model for other states.
On his Twitter account, Simonson said he was proud to receive the award.
"Thank you to all our police officers who put it on the line every day!" he wrote.