For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774
We’re now in the fourth week of the legislative session and things are really starting to pick up. Here’s a brief update on what’s been going on so far:
State of the State and Budget
Last night, Governor Dayton delivered his seventh State of the State to a joint legislative session of the House and Senate. The headline grabbing news was that he collapsed just before he was going to finish his speech. Thankfully, he’s OK and doing well. In the speech and the two year state budget he released today, he outlined a broad vision for improving the lives of ordinary Minnesotans. Much of that commitment to the future related to education, job growth, more affordable choices in health care, and a long-term transportation plan.
When it comes to education, he focused on delivering in all levels of our education system, from early childhood all the way through college and career training. The Governor proposed voluntary pre-kindergarten for all of Minnesota’s children, a 2% increase in education funding this year and the next, a to plan to hold down college debt so we keep our graduates among the best in the nation in workforce readiness. I’m committed to making sure we help the next generation succeed just as the Governor has outlined.
Minnesotans deserve a long-term solution to the $6 billion funding shortfall we have in our transportation budget and the Governor asked for a bipartisan solution to that. Just before he was going to end his remarks, he was going to call for new reforms to make insurance more affordable. Among those reforms was a public option to increase competition and drive down health insurance costs.
Governor Dayton’s vision is one of continued positive growth and an effective government delivering the solutions Minnesotan deserve. I continue to wish him good health and look forward to working with him so everyone in our community has the opportunity to get ahead. You can read his full remarks here and his full budget release here.
As you know, 120,000 Minnesotans who buy their health insurance on the individual market are facing premium increases of up to 60%. Everyone at the legislature recognizes this is a crisis, but we’re seeing politics creep in to the detriment of those struggling to afford their insurance. Governor Dayton and I support an immediate rebate of 25% of their premium costs, directly administered through insurance companies, rather than the costly big government red tape the GOP is supporting.
Unfortunately, Republicans voted for a bill that delays relief until 2018 because of government red tape and even allows insurance companies to sell policies that don’t cover things like cancer, emergency services, Lyme’s disease and nearly 100 other conditions or services.
“Reforms” that bring about junk insurance aren’t going to help the families facing skyrocketing premiums right now. They need relief today and I’m hopeful legislative leaders and Governor Dayton will agree to a quick and workable solution that doesn’t delay help until 2018.
Local Bills Making an Impact
Rep. Sheldon Johnson, Sen. Foung Hawj and I are working hard to make sure the East Side is well represented in state government. Again, we’re seeking money to fix and upgrade the 3rd Street Bridge and we’re hopeful it will pass this year. We’re also looking to help fund the five organizations that make up the Eastside Enterprise Center. We need to continue delivering and making new economic opportunities a reality in our community.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any issues or concern you may have.
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