Hello from St. Paul,
I will be on TPT’s Almanac again tonight for Part II of the “First Term Legislator Panel” at 7:00 PM. I hope you can tune in!
Bills I Chief Authored And Testified To This Week:
Committees have heard hundreds of bills this session and difficult decisions will have to be made to allocate our tax dollars wisely. I am hopeful that some of the ideas I have brought to St. Paul this session will either be funded or signed into law.
House File 1607: establishes a mechanism for government entities to create Housing Trust Funds, which could be used to support workforce housing, senior housing, or affordable housing. I testified to the bill in the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee.
(Randall Hemmerlein, Executive Director of Housing and Redvelopment Authority)
House File 1649: creates an electronic verification system to prevent fraud in delivering homecare services. I testified to the bill in Health and Human Services Finance Committee.
House File 979: re-appropriates funding for levee improvements in Red Wing. I testified to the bill in the Transportation Finance Committee.
House File 980: provides reimbursement to the city of Red Wing for some of the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 61. I testified to the bill in the Transportation Finance Committee as well.
House File 1650: provides funding for the Wabasha Regional Event Conference Center, Riverfront Revitalization Project, and National Eagle Center expansion. I testified to the bill in the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee.
House File 2367: creates a competitive grant program to fund capital improvements to skiing facilities (i.e. potential Frontenac ski jump). I testified to the bill in the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee as well.
(Ahvo Taipale, Owner of Finn Sisu and former Gophers Ski Coach)
House File 2374: establishes workforce development scholarships for students studying advanced manufacturing, health care, agriculture, or information technology at any Minnesota college. I testified to the bill in Higher Education and Career Readiness Committee.
Health Insurance Reform:
On Monday, the House passed House File 5: The Minnesota Premium Security Plan on a bipartisan vote of 78-53. The goal of this bill is to stabilize premiums by trying to minimize the impact of high-risk individuals on the individual health insurance market. The program will be administered by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which ran a high risk pool that brought stability to the individual market and ensured the sickest Minnesotans had access to needed coverage for over 40 years.
Since the implementation of Obamacare, Minnesota’s individual insurance market has become a third as large and twice as sick. If this bill is signed into law, it could help in reducing health insurance premiums 17-18%, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
This bill is not the finished product, there is more work left to be done in order to make health insurance affordable and workable for Minnesotans. I am hopeful that the federal government gives us favorable parameters to work within, so we can do all that we can to make Minnesota a leader in health care again.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding anything related to state government, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.
I appreciate your comments and concerns as it helps me be a better representative.
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