Dear Friends and Neighbors,
January is already more than half over, and legislators have wasted no time getting to work on a number of issues important to Minnesotans. Premium relief passed both bodies of the legislature, Real ID is making its way through committees, and federal tax conformity was signed into law.
Here is an update from the Capitol.
The 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Bill Passes House
On Thursday, the House passed legislation that will provide emergency premium relief to thousands of Minnesotans, as well as implement reforms to preserve care and provide more affordable coverage options. Republicans are working to get this bill through the legislative process as quickly as possible.
The next step in the legislative process will be for the bill to go to conference committee where differences in the legislation will be negotiated before repassing it in both bodies and sending it to Governor Dayton for his signature.
While it is frustrating that MNsure and Obamacare have put Minnesotans in this awful situation, I am glad we are moving swiftly to take action this session. I know Minnesotans need relief as soon as possible, and I will keep you updated as this bill continues to move forward.
Another bill important to Minnesotans is House File 3, Real ID conformity legislation, which we need to pass this year so that citizens can continue to fly domestically with a state-issued driver’s license.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, after January 2018, airline passengers from Minnesota and other states who are not compliant or on the path to compliance with federal Real ID requirements will need an alternative form of identification to board an airplane like a passport or enhanced driver’s license. If we pass this bill, we could be granted an extension until 2020 as we work toward fulfilling federal mandates.
Minnesota is one of the few remaining states that is currently not on the path to compliance, and House File 3 will begin that process. We passed similar legislation last session, but it was blocked by the Senate in final negotiations over an insistence by some DFL Senators that it allow the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to have the rulemaking authority to give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
This bill will not grant DPS that rulemaking authority, will continue to protect citizens’ private data and will provide a free license to Minnesotans who have to upgrade to a Real ID compliant license before their current one expires.
This is an important bill to the millions of Minnesotans who want to use their driver’s license to board an airplane or visit a federal facility. I will keep you updated as this bill moves closer to a full vote in the House.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family on a matter of state government. I am here to serve you!
Have a wonderful weekend.