Much of our time in these early days of the 2019 session has been spent getting settled into our new committees and getting new members up to speed. It’s a steep learning curve and it is good that we are now getting to the point where we will be focusing on the issues themselves.
Our main job this session will be to draft a new two-year state budget. Along the way, a top priority of mine will be to work on bills to help us overcome some of the significant challenges we face in Greater Minnesota, including everything from high health care costs to a lack of workforce housing, a shortage of childcare providers, a skills gap in the labor market and beyond.
High health care costs are really making life difficult for many Minnesotan. I am among those who want to let the 2-percent tax levied on most patient services in our state expire as scheduled starting Jan. 1, 2020. Unfortunately, some people are looking at extending it.
The so-called sick tax applies to procedures such as baby deliveries, chemotherapy treatments, routine doctor visits, emergency room visits, and more. In total, restoring the tax would result in a more than $600 million increase on health care costs for Minnesotans next year alone.
Stay tuned as these and other subjects develop this session. There are some good nonpartisan websites and social media accounts to help people follow along as we make our way through the session. Here are a few sources I hope you will find helpful:
- Minnesota House of Representatives -Information about the legislative process and the Minnesota House of Representatives in general.
- Session Daily -A nonpartisan publication of Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services which provides hard news from the Capitol.
- New laws -Compiled by the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services.
- TV coverage -Coverage is broadcast statewide – along with Minnesota Senate television coverage – on our local PBS station’s digital Minnesota Channel available on many cable systems and is free on over-the-air channels.
- Your Legislators TV program -Your Legislators is a live one-hour program which runs 8 p.m. Thursdays during the legislative session on public TV. The weekly panels typically include a mix of two Republicans and two Democrats joining moderator Barry Anderson. Viewers are able to submit questions during the show.
- Streaming video -Live Internet video streaming of all television productions, plus additional coverage not provided on the broadcast channel, including evening, weekend and interim coverage.
- How a bill moves to law -A 16-page booklet explaining, in a simple, straightforward manner, how a bill moves from an idea to law. Capitol Steps is intended as a resource for junior high school students.
- Twitter -Follow the Twitter account @MNHouseInfo to see nonpartisan news and other information from the Legislature.
I hope you find this information helpful and also look for my emails with personal insights on the issues throughout the session. Your input always is welcome on issues that interest you.
Have a good weekend and stay warm,