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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL)

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Legislative Weekly Recap January 4-10, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

The 2017 legislative session has gotten off to a quick start. It is the first year of a new biennium when the Legislature is traditionally tasked with crafting a two-year state budget. During the second year, or even-numbered year of the biennium, policy bills and bonding are the priorities. As we all remember, the close of the 2016 session left us without a transportation bill, a tax bill, nor a bonding bill.  Although this year’s session will be roughly 18 weeks, there is a lot of work left to accomplish. The current pressing issue is how to address the large premium increases for those purchasing health insurance on the individual market.

Health Insurance Premiums

Last Thursday, during floor session, the full Minnesota House of Representatives debated the Governor Dayton’s bill to address the rising health insurance premiums. The Governor announced his plan, which would provide immediate relief through a 25 percent premium reduction, over two months ago.  There was an initial agreement in early December between legislative leaders on the proposal, however, the House Majority decided to offer legislation that bundles the 25 percent reduction with significant health care reform policies.  Among these policies, one allows for-profit health insurance companies to operate in Minnesota. Another adds an income based sliding scale for the premium relief that would take months to put into effect.  

I'm hopeful the premium relief will move forward on its own by the end of the week and any more extensive policy changes will be vetted through the committee process.

Federal Tax Conformity

The federal tax conformity bill passed off of the House Floor last Thursday. The legislation conforms Minnesota’s tax law to a number of federal tax law changes retroactive to tax year 2015.

The Senate will hear the bill tomorrow morning in committee.  If it passes, both bills will head to the House and Senate floor for a final vote, and eventually, the Governor’s desk for signature. The bill could be signed into law as early as the end of the week.

Coffee& Conversations

Thank you to all who stopped by last Saturday for my first “Coffee & Conversation” of the year. If you were not able to attend, I hope you can make it to a future date. Senator Ron Latz, Representative Peggy Flanagan and I also have a SD46 Town Hall Meeting coming up. So, please mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 31 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the St. Louis Park City Council Chambers. Below are the future dates for my “Coffee & Conversations”. There will be coffee at the Saturday meetings.

Hopkins Library Meeting Room, 22 11th Avenue North, Hopkins MN 55343

Tuesday, February 21 : 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 4 : 10:30 a.m.-NOON

St. Louis Park Library Meeting Room, 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park MN 55426

Tuesday, January 24: 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 11 : 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14 : 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Highway 169 Construction Project

Work was delayed on the year-long Hwy. 169 construction project due to weather and closures will not start until January 17, 2017. You can find details including lane closures and detours here.


As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail, phone or letter; e-mail is usually the best way to get in touch.

Thank you!