The first full week of the legislative session has ended with somewhat more action than usual. Here are updates on a few key items:
Health Insurance Premium Relief
As I've discussed previously, the steep increase in premiums for individual health insurance is a crisis requiring immediate relief, even as we look to longer-term reform. Governor Dayton has proposed a simple and direct plan that would provide this immediate relief. The Republican majorities in the House and Senate are proposing a much more complex plan that would delay relief until 2018 and couple it with a number of major changes to the marketplace - changes which should be fully vetted over the legislative session, with public input. A recent editorial from the Star Tribune contains a good summary of the plans and the overall situation; click here to read it. With the January 31 enrollment deadline coming soon, we need to pass a certain and swift plan quickly.
Advancing in the Fight Against Sexual Violence
Last week I attended an event at the University of Minnesota in support of survivors of campus sexual assault. I prosecute cases of gender violence in my work outside of the Legislature, so this was particularly meaningful for me. Click here to see a video of some of the remarks at the event.
My work as a prosecutor has particularly focused on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. There was recent terrific news in this area, as Backpage announced that it will no longer accept ads in its "adult" section - ads which have frequently been linked to the exploitation of the young and the vulnerable.
Prenatal to Three Policy Forum
The Prenatal to Three Policy Forums which I founded held a third quarterly session last week at the University of St. Thomas. Click here for some good background on the Forums from the Pioneer Press. More than 150 attended this most recent Forum, with presentations by many early-childhood advocates and experts. The next Forum is planned for April.
Women's March, and Living Out Dr. King's Legacy
A number of constituents with concerns about the upcoming inauguration have asked me about events this weekend expressing our determination to hold to our American values. I'm not aware of specific events this weekend. Many constituents, however, are planning to attend the Women's March on Saturday, January 21. For information on the march, click here.
In the meantime, this weekend is a particularly good opportunity to remind ourselves of the work and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., grounded as it was and is in the best of America. There are many events this weekend in general and on Monday in particular, but if you want to participate in the state's official recognition of Dr. King, come to the Capitol on Monday morning for a march through downtown St. Paul to the Ordway Center, where a celebration program will be held. For full details, click here.
Please keep in touch, and thank you for the honor of serving our community,
State Representative, District 64B
321 State Office Building