Mental health services in schools, service dogs for vets: Franken's accomplishments

Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken speaks to the media on Capitol Hill on Nov. 27, 2017.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images 2017

As a senator, Al Franken had legislative and political victories before accusations of sexual misconduct led him to resign.

Franken successfully pushed for a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to spend most of the money they collect in premiums on health care rather than on administrative expenses such as salaries and marketing. It's called the "medical loss ratio," and it says that large insurers can spend no more than 20 percent of premium revenue on administrative costs. Any amount the companies spend over 20 percent must be sent back to their customers.

Other legislative accomplishments include a crackdown on financial institutions' shopping for preferential credit ratings.

Franken has said one of the things he is most proud of is his successful effort to direct millions of dollars to pay for more mental health services in schools.

The first piece of legislation he successfully introduced directed the Veterans Administration to partner with organizations to provide wounded veterans with service dogs.

On the political side, Franken became well known for his aggressive questioning of President Trump's nominees. Franken grilled fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., over the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia. He also helped reveal a lack of education knowledge on the part of Trump's nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos.

Franken also became a top fundraiser for Democrats around the country, and someone who could draw crowds and fire them up behind causes and candidates.

He was an outspoken opponent of a major cable company merger and a leader in the fight for what's called "net neutrality," which prevents internet service providers from favoring some content over others.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.