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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Debra Kiel (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Deb Kiel

Friday, April 19, 2024

Dear neighbors,

It’s been another busy week in St. Paul. With the third deadline today and only five weeks left in the legislative session, committee action is starting to come to a close. I had the opportunity to welcome several visitors this week. First, I welcomed students from Mankato Christian Academy, who were visiting to get a first-hand account of how state government works. While the school isn’t in our district, it was special because my daughter teaches science there. I also had the opportunity, along with Senator Johnson, to meet with veterans from Polk and Red Lake counties who were here for Veterans Day on the Hill. They were here to advocate for important veterans' issues. It was nice to meet all of them, and thank them for their service. I met with a group of Somalian Americans as they gathered here at the capitol. Finally, I visited with Jennifer Compeau from East Grand Forks to discuss some bills coming forward soon in the House.


Mankato Christian Academy visits the House floor.


Rep. Kiel and Jennifer Compeau


Veterans from Polk and Red Lake Counties

Omnibus Bills Galore

With that aforementioned third deadline today, you will begin to see numerous omnibus bills make their way to the House floor. We have already heard some, including the Human Services Policy Bill (SF 4399) we heard on Monday. One of my bills was included in this package in article four. My provision would make modifications to the Senior LinkAge Line, which is a program that provides seniors with access and information to care options available to them. The change eliminates the use of verification codes, which were required to be given to prospective residents of assisted living facilities. This change will lead to fewer barriers to moving into assisted living facilities and is supported by the Minnesota Board on Aging. The omnibus bill as a whole, however, does have some controversial provisions, including the elimination of the subminimum wage. Elimination of the subminimum wage would remove informed choice for people with disabilities, and likely cause jobs for those folks to disappear. The change appears to be in direct conflict with the Olmstead Supreme Court decision from 1999, which states that people with disabilities should be able to live full and integrated lives in their communities. This bill would essentially remove most opportunities to do that.

In the Health Finance and Policy Committee on Friday, we began the final work on the Health and Human Services omnibus bill (HF 4571). There are several concerning aspects of this bill. It includes a prohibition on vertically integrated health plans from reimbursing employee physicians at a higher rate, a county-administered model alternative to the traditional Prepaid Medical Assistance program, and coverage requirements for abortion and gender transition, among other things. There is also no public option included in this bill. At the end of the day, this bill has a ton of mandates that will ultimately cause the cost of health insurance in Minnesota to skyrocket. At a time when inflation is high, and your dollars are not going as far as they did just four years ago, we should not be passing any policy that makes life more expensive for Minnesotans. Instead, we should be working to make life more affordable. However, the DFL majority seems to only care about their priorities, not the financial security of your families.

As the final weeks of the legislative session approach, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Rep. Deb Kiel

Please Contact Me

It’s an honor and privilege to work for you at the Capitol. Don’t hesitate to contact my office at any time this session to share your thoughts, concerns or ideas. I am here to serve you!

Kiel Signature