Today the MN House announced our budget priorities for 2018/19. This, along with other items from the past week, is detailed below.
House Republican Budget
Today we announced our budget targets. Our Republican caucus is committed to providing tax relief, making education stronger for our kids, building road and bridge infrastructure, and lowering health care costs. The deadline for House budget bills is the 31st, and more specifics will be available once these bills have been finalized in their respective committees are introduced on the House floor.
Additional Insurance Market Reforms
On Monday, the House passed additional reforms for our insurance exchange, following up on a promise we made earlier this year when our initial MNsure relief and reform bill was passed into law.
Our bill, HF5, prioritizes individuals who are considered “high risk” on the individual market by having the government mitigate the impact on insurance companies. This would make premiums decrease from 17-18% for people on the individual market, and get sick people the coverage they need. This bill passed on a bipartisan vote, and is being hear in the Senate.
Transportation Sparsity Bill
As I have mentioned before, I have been working with other representatives to address the transportation sparsity that many school districts are facing across the state. While that specific bill (HF1612) was not included in the final Education Finance bill, I am working on an amendment that would attempt to help districts that are hit particularly hard with this issue, such as Forest Lake School District which falls nearly $1 million short in transportation funding every year. I will present this amendment in the Ways and Means Committee, which I am a member of, when the education finance bill passes through that committee.
Honoring Ralph Donais and Jerry Kyser for Their Service to Veterans
Last week in the Veterans Affairs Committee we presented Ralph Donais and Jerry Kyser House Resolutions acknowledging their significant contributions to, and avocation for, Minnesota’s veteran community.
Ralph Donais served in the United States Marine Corps from 1964-1994, including tours in Vietname in 1967 and 1970. He has been given numerous awards for his distinguished service, and has been a tireless advocate for our veterans community throughout his adult life.
Jerry Kyser served in the United States Army, and is a combat disabled veteran. He has worked tirelessly and passionately for veterans for many years. His efforts alongside other advocates succeeded in reduced veterans unemployment in Minnesota from 20% to 5%. Because of his service, he was selected as the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award recipient.
Both Mr. Donais and Mr. Kyser have service our veterans community in Minnesota in more ways that we can recount here. It was a privilege to acknowledge their service in the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Veterans Day at the Capitol
Today was Minnesota’s Veterans Day at the Capitol. It was an honor to speak to so many veterans about advocating for their concerns in Saint Paul, and what we have accomplished for our community over the last couple of sessions.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and advocates for veterans priorities at the Capitol!
A Great Visit
My wife, Colleen stopped by with our grandkids, Emery and Evalynne, last Monday for a visit. They brought homemade chocolate chip cookies, and got to see grandpa’s desk in the House Chamber. It was good to have them around for a bit before we got back to work.
Again, thank you for the honor of being your representative in Saint Paul. I look forward to hearing and visiting with many of you as we move forward with session; I value you input very much.