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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Rep. Schomacker Legislative Update

Friday, February 10, 2023

Hello from St. Paul,


I often hear from residents about health care issues ranging from costs to access, so I’d like to highlight a pair of bills I’m working on this session to address these problems.



Did you know that every time you see your doctor you are forced to pay a tax?


The provider tax – or better phrased, the sick tax – is a regressive tax the State of Minnesota imposes on every doctor’s visit. 


Due to our budget surplus the rate of that tax has been lowered, but that’s only temporary. My bill language states that this lowered rate would become the new ceiling rate, and if Minnesota continues to have budget surpluses the provider tax rate will continue to be reduced. 


Minnesota needs to get out of the business of taxing people because they’re getting sick. I've joined my colleagues in the past in efforts to eliminate the tax altogether, but it was reinstated during slimmer budget times. My hope is that this bill could gain bipartisan support and allow us to put real dollars back in the pockets of Minnesotans.



In an effort to improve the health care profession for Minnesota nurses, I am sponsoring legislation that allows them to join the nurse licensure compact.


Our local hospitals tell me all the time that it’s difficult under current law to not have a compact in place. For example, if someone comes from Rock Rapids or Garretson and receives treatment at a southwestern Minnesota hospital, it can be problematic for nurses who need to call back with a prescription or follow up due to the problems associated with exchanging medical information across state lines.


The Nurse Licensure Compact gives nurses the opportunity to be licensed in the nurse’s home state or state of residency (if the state is part of the compact) to practice in other member states. States must adopt the compact through legislation in order to be members, and the legislation would allow Minnesota to become a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. Currently 38 other states, as well as the territory of Guam are involved with the compact, up from 25 the last time I brought this legislation forward.


In a 2017 survey of licensed nurses from the state board of nursing, more than 80% of nurses support adoption of the compact. The same survey showed that of nurses that have a compact license today from another state, 93% of them found the compact beneficial to their profession.


We want to make it easier for hospitals to provide health care, make it easier for nurses to practice in their field and this the best way to get that done. The best part is that nurses overwhelmingly want it too.



This week, the Minnesota House approved legislation that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students. This proposal sounds good, but the details are more problematic.  As the proposal passed off the House Floor late last night, schools that have the fewest free and reduced meal participants (due to the wealth of the families) receive more state tax dollars than districts with a greater number of participants.  The disparity between funding metro schools and rural schools is real, and this only exacerbates that.  Amendments were offered, attempting to reverse that formula proposal, but failed.  We'll continue to remain optimistic that this proposal can be right-sized in the Senate, its next stop.


Have a good weekend,