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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL)

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Pre-Session Legislative Update

Monday, February 5, 2024

Dear Neighbors,

The 2024 Session convenes next Monday, February 12th, and the focus will be on policy and infrastructure projects. Two of my major policy bills on Consumer Data Privacy and Housing Regulatory Reform are likely to be heard early in the session. Both bills enjoy bipartisan support and I am optimistic about their passage. 

Here is an update on some recent developments.

Transparent Hospital Pricing

A new Minnesota law that I authored to improve patient access to hospital prices is now in effect. Under the new law, hospitals are required to post their prices for each service in a consistent manner. You can now see the price of any hospital service, by hospital, for your health plan and compare the prices on an apples-to-apples basis. If you are on a high-deductible health plan and have to pay out of pocket for a radiology scan, a colonoscopy or other expensive service you should be taking advantage of this new law by comparing prices (and quality ratings) for nearby hospitals before scheduling the procedure. Procedure prices typically vary by hundreds of dollars from hospital to hospital – there is no rhyme or reason to hospital pricing!

The best way to compare prices is by using one of these free services, which compile the pricing data from each hospital into a consumer-friendly form:

For example, if I was suffering a Heart Attack (DRG 282), I could choose to tell the EMTs in the ambulance to take me to Fairview Southdale (a 4 Star Hospital) where Turquoise Health shows that the listed price for my Medicare Advantage plan is $5,254 instead of Methodist Hospital (a 5 star hospital) where the price for my health plan is $19,548. These kinds of price discrepancies are common. You might even find a cash price that is lower than the price that is paid under your insurance. 

The Rochester Post Bulletin printed a great article that goes into the details of this important law, check it out if you’d like to learn more.

This time, next year, outpatient surgical centers, large specialty practices (orthopedics, oncology, radiology, etc.) and dental clinics will also come under this law. 

Another bill that I authored authorizes the Minnesota Department of Health to publish studies showing the variation in prices actually paid to all health care practices by health plans. 

Hearing on End of Life Options

Last week the House Health and Finance held a public hearing on HF1930, a bill to establish end-of-life options for terminally ill adults. The bill, known as the End-of-Life Options Act, is modeled after an Oregon law which allows adults who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and determined to be of sound mind to be prescribed life-ending medication, usually to be taken at home. This was an emotional hearing on a difficult subject and I voted to advance the bill to its next committee when the session formally begins next week. The bill has strong guardrails. In the states that have enacted these bills none of the feared negative unintended consequences have come to pass. I’m a cancer survivor, myself, and take this issue personally. When my time comes, I want to be able to go out on my own terms. I will continue to follow this important law as we decide how to provide more options for those facing the end of their life. You can watch the hearing here.

New Flag and State Seal

As you probably know Minnesota will have a new flag and state seal. I followed the process closely and like tens of thousands of other Minnesotans I weighed in with my own opinions. Two of my favorites made it to the final 5 and one of them made it to the final three, the popular favorite that won Fairvote’s Rank Choice vote. I like the new flag and seal that the committee chose and I think that they’ll grow on most of us. The eight point star is taken from the star at the center of the rotunda floor in the Capitol and has special significance in both Native American and Scandinavian cultures. I have absolutely no confidence that a “committee” composed of 201 state legislators could do better. And yes, the old state flag really did depict a Native American riding off into the sunset and the flag designer’s wife wrote a poem in which she stated that the symbolism was intentional.


Crime Down Across MN, New Gun Laws

New data shows that crime has dropped across Minnesota in every major category. As we move past a pandemic era spike I will continue to support laws and funding that improve public safety, like last year when I voted for record funding in law enforcement and community intervention strategies.

Gun violence remains too high, however there are two new laws that went into effect this month that will help. The laws will implement improved criminal background checks and extreme risk protection orders to ensure that guns stay out of the hands of those who would cause harm. I look forward to supporting future gun safety efforts this upcoming session.

gun laws

EV Rebates

Last session we passed an Electric Vehicle Rebate Program allowing residents to receive a rebate of up to $2,500 for a new EV purchase and $600 for a used purchase. Electric cars, plug-ins or hybrids purchased or leased on or after May 25, 2023 are eligible. The application process goes live on February 7th, and you can find more information at


Keep in Touch

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can provide any assistance. Please follow me on my Facebook page for further updates and invite your friends and family to do so as well. 

Thanks for the honor of representing you at the Capitol. 


Steve Elkins
Representative, District 50B
Minnesota House of Representatives