I’d like to wish you and your family a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover. I hope you are able to enjoy some time celebrating this weekend with your loved ones.
My colleagues and I are wrapping up another busy deadline week today. There will be no legislative business at the Capitol next week, as we are off for our Easter/Passover break. Once legislators return after the break, things will really start to pick up at the Capitol. At this point, we will have a clearer picture of what bills will continue their way through the legislative process and have the chance to ultimately be signed into law.
Police Protection Bills
Last week in committees, House Republicans approved two bills designed to protect police officers and the communities they serve. The first bill would increase the penalty for assaulting a law enforcement officer from a gross misdemeanor to a felony. We owe it to the men and women that selflessly serve and protect their communities every day to ensure that individuals that seek to harm them are appropriately held accountable.
The other bill would prevent a local city government from disarming its law enforcement officers who are in good standing and not currently under investigation or subject to disciplinary action. Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day in order to protect the public. For the safety of the officers and their communities, the idea of local politicians disarming police is dangerous. That’s why this is an important bill and one I’ll continue to support as it moves forward.
Rising healthcare costs for families across the state remains a top concern of mine. We are continuing to address these costs and enact healthcare reforms in the state legislature, and are hopeful the federal government will act soon to provide relief for families struggling due to the many shortcomings of Obamacare.
Last year, House Republicans passed legislation to provide three years of premium relief for the individual market, which is the pool of people who do not get health insurance through work or government. The individual market has been hit hard by MNsure, but the premium relief programs have stopped the drastic premium increases caused by MNsure and Obamacare from 2013 to 2016. In addition to premium relief, we also enacted reforms to allow agricultural cooperatives to offer health plans, ensure protection from surprise medical bills, and provide access to better networks.
These meaningful reforms have proven effective in reducing healthcare costs. On the other hand, MinnesotaCare for all would create further problems for rural families already being hurt by hospital consolidation and decreasing doctor choices. The plan also calls for extremely low reimbursement to doctors and hospitals compared to private plans, which means very few will likely accept the public option as a form of insurance. It is also estimated to cost an average of $659 per month for individuals, so it does little to stop skyrocketing premiums under Obamacare.
In order to pay for MinnesotaCare for all, Democrats have voted in favor of reinstating a billion dollar per year provider tax that is set to expire. In addition, MinnesotaCare has a startup cost of over $110 million. After Governor Dayton dumped over $400,000,000 into the failed MNsure system, we can't afford to waste more money on risky schemes while families struggle.
During the remainder of session, I will continue to oppose the harmful MinnesotaCare for all proposal, and pursue real reforms to decrease healthcare costs for Minnesota’s families.
Line 3 Replacement Bill
On Tuesday, a bill to authorize the construction of the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline was approved in committee. The bill would grant a certificate of need and route approval for the pipeline, which transports oil through northern Minnesota. The pipeline was ordered to be replaced during the Obama Administration, has been vetted extensively through our state’s regulatory process, and enjoys overwhleming public support from northern Minnesotans. The Line 3 Pipeline will provide a significant economic boost for northern Minnesota by creating and sustaining good-paying jobs, generating more tax and commerce revenue for our local communities, and ensuring oil can continue to travel safely across our state.
Stay In Touch
If you ever have any additional questions or comments regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you.
I truly represent the best!