Here’s an update on what’s happening at the State Capitol. As always, please contact me with your thoughts and questions. Have a great weekend.
Unionizing Child Care Providers
I will not support a move to force union membership and dues on home child care providers unwillingly. If unionized through a bill proposed (HF950), child care providers serving our low income families and children would be required to pay union dues or fair share fees, potentially driving up costs or reducing services. When unionized, the state of Minnesota becomes the “employer of record,” thus putting the state in the middle of a relationship that is primarily between the parent and their provider of choice.
I met with Governor Dayton this week about moving forward several bills related to veterans. I hope to have more progress to report on these bills in the coming weeks.
Health Exchange Bill
The Democrat Insurance Exchange bill was passed after five hours of debate on Monday night with only one Republican supporter. The bill makes the most significant changes to Minnesota’s health care industry in a generation and brings Obamacare’s costly and infringing mandates to Minnesota. After the Affordable Care Act was passed, each state had the option of building its own insurance exchange (a website run by a new government super agency in St. Paul) or defer to the federal exchange. Half of U.S. states have decided against the state-based exchange, including most of our Midwest neighbors, but Governor Dayton and DFL leaders have imposed this new system on all of us. My main concerns with the bill (which spends over $100 million just to set up the new agency) are cost, privacy and choice.
I am concerned that the bill does nothing to guarantee our health care quality will improve, insurance premiums will be lower, more people will be covered, or that we will see savings in the health system. Our state is a national leader in health care and in health insurance; this isn’t worth jeopardizing to build this new government entity in St. Paul. For now, the bill goes to Conference Committee and will come back to the House for final passage later this month.
U of M Regents Selection
On Wednesday, the House and Senate held a joint convention to select members of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Selecting leaders for the University is an important task for the legislature every two years and particularly this year, as we take a close look at the budgets and rising tuition costs of our state colleges and universities.
Alternative Gun Legislation
I will be supporting an alternative piece of legislation this session that would prohibit felons from possessing ammunition, creates mandatory minimums for violent felons that are convicted of possessing firearms on a second or subsequent offense, and provides felony penalties for individuals that engage in repeated false reports of lost or stolen firearms. This important legislation is bipartisan and also supported by the Minnesota Sheriffs Association and gun-rights advocates.