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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Update from St. Paul

Friday, March 10, 2017

Greetings from the Capitol!

The 2017 legislative session is heating up. This week during session is known as “first deadline week” around the Capitol. This means that all policy bills had to be heard in committee in either the House or the Senate by today, March 10th, in order to be considered later in session. Going forward, committees will be focused on finance bills and crafting the budget.

Childcare Access and Affordability:

This week, I testified to a bill, House File 1422, which I chief authored as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Childcare Access and Affordability. I introduced this bill to help fix the shortage of child care providers in Minnesota, especially in greater Minnesota. If we don’t have child care providers, it doesn’t matter how much money is added to Child Care Assistance Program.

House File 1422 would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to report on the status of child care for the next three years regarding data about trends related to child care providers, child care assistance funding, and changes in rule, law, or policy. It also would require updates about work being done to remedy communication and relational issues between DHS or counties and providers.

The bill clarifies language about “annual” training; classes that are to be taken annually would need to be completed once during each licensed year and classes that are to be completed every two years would need to be taken before a relicensing visit at the end of a two-year term, instead of 12 or 24 months from the date the class was last taken. This would protect providers from a violation if their class is canceled or unavailable the same month it was taken one or two years prior.

The bill also would allow child care providers who have correction orders overturned by appeal to remove the order from public posting in their homes or facilities. These orders are required to stay up for two years even if they are overturned. Providers who work so hard to care for children feel the postings are “scarlet letters” that negatively affect their businesses.

This bill would prohibit quotas for the issuance of corrections orders. I have heard anecdotal evidence that licensors will not leave a provider’s home until something wrong is found. That simply cannot be allowed.

Finally, this bill requires that DHS communicate directly with license holders via electronic means about any changes to statute, rule, federal law, regulation, and policy related to child care providers. Currently, DHS communicates directly with the appropriate government agency for changes to each specific program or policy; however, that information is not always communicated with license holders.

Public Hospital Investment:

I also testified to another bill that I chief authored, House File 559, which would allow public hospitals to adopt written investment policies that provide more flexibility to invest hospital revenue funds in securities which have been recommended by investment advisors, a bank, or a trust company.

This bill is very important for Douglas County Hospital in Alexandra. Douglas County Hospital is the second largest public hospital in the state, and they are taking a leadership role in pursuing this legislation because the current restrictions have put our public hospitals at a disadvantage compared to non-profit 501(c)(3) hospitals.   

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Essay Contest:

Students, kindergarten through 12th grade, are encouraged to submit essays explaining how the State Capitol has shaped our collective past and how it will impact future generations. Contest winners will be invited to share their submissions during an August 12th program as part of festivities marking the completion of an extensive refurbishment of our 112-year old Capitol. Winners in each category also will receive a $1,000 college savings plan.

Essay participants can select from one of following topics:

  • My Minnesota Capitol. Your Minnesota Capitol. Everybody’s Capitol. Everyone who works or visits the Capitol uses and views it in different ways. What does the Capitol building mean to you? What do you think it represents for Minnesotans from different backgrounds, and why is it important to remember that the Capitol building is designed for every Minnesotan?
  • A Place to Remember History and for History in the Making. Many historical and symbolic moments have occurred at the State Capitol, and it will be the site of more history-making events in years to come. What is one of the most important events that occurred at the State Capitol? How do you think our state Capitol will continue to serve Minnesota as our state keeps changing, and what do you think might occur at the Capitol that will impact the future of Minnesota?

Essays will be reviewed by a panel of state officials. Each submission must contain the student’s name, school, home address, phone number and current grade on the front page or cover sheet. Middle and high school entries must be typed in a 12-point font, double-spaced on white 8.5-by 11-inch piece of paper. Elementary school entries may be handwritten. Essays should be 250 words or fewer, and will be judged on creativity, clarity, content and adherence to the theme.

All essays must be received via email or postmarked by April 28th. Entries should be mailed to the Minnesota Department of Administration, c/o Kathy Morgan. 50 Sherburne Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55117. Entries also may be emailed to:

More information on the contest also is provided at:


If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-3201 or I would love to hear from you.

I truly represent the best!


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