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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bob Dettmer (R)

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First Week of Session Update from Rep. Bob Dettmer

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

As we finish our first full week of session, here is an overview of notable items from the last 7 days.

Our swearing in ceremony was held on Tuesday, January 3rd, during our first House floor session. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, and Representative Kurt Daudt was voted Speaker of the House once again by myself and other House members. I am pleased to have another two years of his leadership in our body.



Our second floor session of the week was on Thursday, and two bill were brought forward for debate. The first bill, House File 1 (HF1), was comprised of MNsure relief and reform measures. The relief measures included funding for continuity of care, and a 25% reduction in premiums for 3 months on plans purchased in the individual market. After that initial 3 months, premium assistance would vary from 20-30% a month based on income.

The reform piece of HF1 included requiring rate increases to be made public within 10 days after they are filed, allowing time for people to look for other insurance options, and enabling for-profit insurance providers to sell plans in Minnesota in order to increase competition.

The House Democratic caucus had agreed to suspend the rules and pass HF1 without delay, allowing it to bypass the committee process which can take weeks. However, once the motion to suspend the rules was actually under consideration, the Democrats went back on their word and refused to contribute to the 2/3 majority that is required to suspend the rules.

As a result, this bill will have to go back through the committee process, and relief will be unnecessarily delayed for Minnesotans being crushed by the insurance crisis. This turn of events does not bode well in terms of trusting our opposition to keep their word, and it’s extremely disappointing that this vital bill failed as the result of political posturing.

Let me be very clear; addressing the health insurance crisis remains the top priority for the House Republican Caucus. I will continue to keep you informed about this issue as it progresses.

On a more positive note, the second bill brought forward on Thursday, House File 2 (HF2) passed without difficulty. This bill brought Minnesota’s tax code into line with federal tax code, and ensures that you don’t have to make multiple changes on forms when filing state and federal taxes. What’s more, passing federal tax conformity in time for this year’s tax season will mean $21.7 million in immediate tax relief this year.

I am pleased that this measure was moved quickly through the House, and all signs point to its swift passage in the state Senate as well. The Department of Revenue has indicated that tax conformity must be adopted by January 11th for tax filing programs, like TurboTax, to be undated in time for this year’s filings; there should be no problem in meeting that deadline.

Looking forward to the next couple of weeks, pieces of HF1 (the MNsure reform bill) will be moving through the committee process, and we hope to deal with the Real ID issue as well.

As always, thank you for the honor of being your representative. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns you have.