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State Representative Dennis Smith

375 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-5502

For more information contact: George Damian

Posted: 2017-10-06
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Legislative Update

School Sports & Health Insurance Rate Update


Friends, 

October is here and it has been extremely wet. Hopefully it will be a gorgeous fall night for football when the Maple Grove Crimson take on Lakeville North and the Osseo Orioles travel to take on Totino Grace. Good luck boys! Our local paper always does a nice job keeping up with the local high school sports teams, take a look here
 

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Rep. Smith spoke to talk to high school students about the role of faith in public life.


October Capitol Retort

As previously mentioned, I have become a regular panelist for Minnesota Lawyer as part of their monthly series Capitol Retort where we give our thoughts on the hot local and nation issues of the day. Here is a small sample of the interview from this month's issue: 

  • Question 1:  A bill to regulate collection and use of student data by education institutions and technology vendors was the backdrop to a recent Legislative Commission on Data Practices hearing, where it was revealed that some of the guiding state laws date back to 1980. How concerned are you about kids’ data privacy?
  • Dennis Smith, GOP House member, attorney: I’m very concerned about kids’ data privacy. We have learned that our schools are collecting data on our children, unbeknownst to the children and the parents, and that is wrong. Certain data can be collected, but there needs to be some transparency in the process and this bill [House File 1507] is showing that there isn’t. We need to make sure that students understand what data is being collected on them and the parents, obviously, need to have an awareness of this as well.
  • Question 2:  An entertainingly bleep-filled music video from the company Velcro has gone viral. In it, company lawyers implore consumers to say “hook-and-loop” and not “Velcro,” when referring to Velcro-like fasteners produced by other companies. Admittedly, “hook-and-loop” is sort of catchy. Will you start saying that?
  • Dennis Smith: I can with certainly say that I am not going to start saying that, period. I respect everyone’s First Amendment right, and the entertainment industry certainly uses the First Amendment the way that it was meant to be used and I applaud them for doing so. But I am not going to participate in the company’s tag line or the latest viral video.
  • Question 2: Another mass shooting, this one at a Las Vegas country music concert Sunday, left dozens dead and hundreds hurt. The pace and scale of mass shootings is increasing, former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday. Is there nothing, legally, that can be done to stop this in America?
  • Dennis Smith: My prayers and thoughts are with all the victims in Las Vegas. These types of tragedies need to be stopped and we need to do everything we can to stop them. We have a variety of areas that we can work on. And while we don’t know the motives behind this recent incident – it’s hard to speak to the specifics of it – clearly there is a lot we can and we should be doing in this area.

A link to the full interview is behind a pay-wall but available here


Health Insurance Rate Update 

On Monday the Minnesota Department of Commerce released final rates for the 2018 individual insurance market, confirming that Republican-led reforms helped reverse the four straight years of double-digit premium increases and helped to expand health care choices to Minnesota families. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates would have risen by 20 percent or higher without Republican reforms. 

Over the past four years, premium rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60 percent just one year ago. As a result of the reinsurance program recently approved by the federal government, all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. In addition, Republicans successfully pushed to expand health care options and improve access to hospitals and doctors. As part of the reinsurance legislation, providers are now required to offer in-network access to more than one health care provider system in the counties in which they operate.

These reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Governor Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.

In addition, last Friday, Minnesota Management and Budget announced that more than 112,000 Minnesotans have benefited from the premium assistance program that was passed this past session. This program was established to help those Minnesotans who were most negatively affected by skyrocketing insurance costs due to Obamacare.

 

High School Page Program 

The Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program is now accepting applications. Over the last 40 years the program has provided high school juniors with hands-on access to our state government in action. I encourage any high school junior who may be interested in learning more about the legislative process to apply for the page program by December 1st. Click here to apply

Please continue to share your thoughts with me about our state government; bill ideas and concerns are welcomed! I am honored to serve you at the Capitol. My email address is Rep.Dennis.Smith@house.mn, phone number 651-296-5502, and by mail: 375 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Have a great weekend!

Dennis

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