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State Representative Abigail Whelan

439 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-1729

For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522

Posted: 2017-10-06
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update from Rep. Abigail Whelan (10.06.17)


Dear Neighbor,

Here is an update from the Capitol and around the district.

2018 Individual Market Rates

The Minnesota Department of Commerce released finalized rates this week for the 2018 individual health insurance market, showing Republican-led reforms ended a four year trend of double-digit premium increases. With our reinsurance plan now approved by the federal government, 2018 rates were held steady or are declining for people who purchase their own insurance. That is a fantastic news considering just last year, rates increased by almost 60 percent.

Without the reforms passed this session, the Minnesota Department of Commerce stated that rates would have risen by 25 percent or more.

While there is still more work to be done to fix our health care system, we are advancing meaningful solutions at the state-level to stabilize our individual market.

Met Council Audit

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a report on Met Council finances, showing a $237 million discrepancy between the funding they reported to the state and federal government.

Working to secure funding for Southwest Light Rail, the Met Council reported a $152 million balance in their operating budget. In their report to the Legislature this year, however, they reported an $85 million deficit. During final budget negotiations, Governor Dayton demanded that state taxpayers give $70 million to cover their operating deficits.

This report showed the public that the Met Council is misleading elected officials and Minnesota citizens on their financial situation.

As a member of the Transportation Policy Committee, this is especially frustrating, and adds yet even more reason to reform the Met Council. Last session I was proud to co-author legislation that called for a number of Met Council reforms, and I am committed to continuing to work for reform with my colleagues to bring much needed transparency and accountability to this governor-appointed agency.

Supreme Court Update

Recently, the Supreme Court ordered the Legislature and Governor Dayton into mediation in an attempt to work out an agreement after what we believe was an unconstitutional veto of legislative funding. Republican leaders from the House and Senate entered into negotiations in good-faith hoping to secure funding for the legislative branch which represents the voice of every Minnesota citizen.

Unfortunately, on day two of negotiations, the governor abruptly ended the negotiations. Please know I will keep you updated on new developments with the court case.

Board of Teaching

It was disappointing to learn after a recent KSTP investigation that the Board of Teaching (BOT) has failed to report allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers to law enforcement. This is just another example of failure by the BOT which Republicans overhauled this session. We did close a loophole that the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, which is replacing the BOT, “must report to the appropriate law enforcement authorities a revocation, suspension, or agreement involving a loss of license, relating to a teacher or administrator’s inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor.”

It is frankly outrageous that the BOT did not report these cases to law enforcement, putting our children in harm’s way and not doing their duty as a mandatory reporter.

MNLARS

Last month, the Legislature held hearings on MNLARS, the new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System that was implemented this summer and has faced technical difficulties ever since. Many Minnesotans who have gone to renew their license, get a car title, etc. from the state have been left frustrated by the new system.

If you have had issues with the Department of Vehicle Services and need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

MSFA

Late last month we saw yet another example of failed leadership at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA). The security company that was hired to protect citizens attending football games and other events at U.S. Bank Stadium failed to properly vet their security personnel and falsified documents submitted to the state.

The MSFA, led by the governor's appointees, continues to let down taxpayers and the people of Minnesota. The security firm they hired has had a number of problems that were known before signing the $4.2 million state contract.

Republicans championed MSFA reform legislation during the 2017 session, and following other scandals and the resignation of their leadership earlier this year, it’s clear we need to do everything we can to bring more accountability and transparency to state government.

You can learn more about what happened in a recent KSTP story here.

Turn on the Lights

Several hundred supporters from our area attended the “Turn the Lights on for Veterans” rally in Anoka recently. In an agreement between Anoka County and the city of Anoka, they are converting and opening vacant cottages for veterans housing.

This is a great initiative with support from our community and volunteers to help veterans in need. You can learn more about it in a recent newspaper story here.

High School Page Program

If you know a high school junior interested in politics and state government, encourage them to apply for the week-long House High School Page Program!

It’s a unique experience that allows students to take part in the legislative process, meet with legislators and get first-hand insight into the workings of state government. All applications are due by December 1, 2017. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.

Around the Community

So many great local events are happening in our community this month. Check out some of the fun things you can do with your family below!

Anoka-Champlin Fire Department Open House

Join the Anoka-Champlin Fire Department during Fire Prevention Week. The open house is this Saturday, October 7 from 9 am-2 pm. Learn more here.

Anoka Anti-Crime Commission Fundraiser Breakfast

On Tuesday, October 24 at 7:29 am at the Green Haven Golf Course, they are hosting the Anoka Anti-Crime Commission Fundraiser Breakfast. The Special Guest Speaker will be David Bowdich, Associate Deputy Director of the FBI. A table for 8 is $100, or individual tickets are $15 each. Learn more here.

Farmers Markets

The Anoka Farmers Market runs through October. The market is located in the Lyric Arts parking lot (420 E. Main Street) and runs from 2-6 pm. Learn more here.

The Ramsey Farmers Market also runs through early fall. You can go pick up some fresh local produce on Thursdays from 3-7pm at the Ramsey Municipal Center. Learn more here.

***

Please know my office is available should you need assistance on a matter of state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-1729 or via email at rep.abigail.whelan@house.mn. I also welcome your input and ideas on legislation and matters moving through the Minnesota House. I am here to serve you and it is a joy! Thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Abigail

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