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State Representative Laurie Halverson

233 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4128

For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774

Posted: 2017-04-20
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update - April 20, 2017


Dear Neighbors,

The legislature has less than five weeks to complete work on all of the state budget bills before our constitutional deadline for adjournment. As we enter this very busy time of session, here’s an update on what’s been going on and what to expect:

Conference Committees

The two weeks prior to our spring recess were filled with committee hearings and long nights of debating and voting on omnibus bills. This week joint House and Senate conference committees are getting together to work out the differences between their respective bills. As a starting point, I am hoping to see the House and Senate at least agree on budget targets as soon as possible so more meaningful negotiations can begin with specific details about what will be funded.

Here’s a nice article from the nonpartisan House Public Information on the conference committee process.

If you want to take a deeper dive here’s a link to all of the conference committees and their associated documents.

Health Insurance Premium Relief

Interestingly, conference committee work began earlier than usual this session, as the legislature took up the issue of high insurance premiums. I was the sole DFL House member appointed to both the Conference Committee for HF 1 to provide premium rebates, and on HF 5 on reinsurance.

We managed to reach bipartisan agreement on the bill to provide a 25% premium relief to customers in the individual market who do not qualify for a federal subsidy. In fact, rebates are currently being distributed by the health plans. There is no action needed on the part of the customer in order to receive your rebate. The purpose of the bill was to provide quick relief to customers experiencing high rates of increase on their insurance premiums.

Underfunding Education

If there is one issue that nearly everyone in Eagan agrees upon, it is support for our kids and our schools. Our community thrives because we have wonderful schools and a well-educated workforce that can outcompete just about anybody.

I’ve received a lot of feedback from constituents about the omnibus education bill currently in conference committee. Despite a billion dollar surplus, the House education bill contains only a 1.25% per-pupil formula increase per year – an “increase” that would not even come close to keeping up with inflation. Without funding that keeps pace with inflaction, our Eagan school districts will face cuts in the coming budget year. I do not want to see our schools fall behind, so I voted against the bill that would underfund our schools, and I support a proposal to provide an inflationary increase that will help our schools continue to meet the high standars that our community has come to expect for our kids.

The vote on the Education Omnibus bill fell on partisan lines in Dakota County with myself and Reps. Masin and Maye Quade and Sens. Carlson, Klein, Clausen, Little voting against the bill, and Reps. Barr, Christensen, Peterson, Wills and Sen. Hall voting to underfund education. Rep. Garofalo was absent.

As I write this, a House-Senate education conference committee have been appointed and begun meeting.  You can make your voice heard and ask the conferees to support the 2% inflationary increase for our schools.

House: Reps. Loon; Erickson; Bennett; Kresha; Murphy, M.
Senate: Sen. Nelson; Pratt; Eichorn; Weber; Wiger

Eagan Happenings

There’s a lot going on in our community and many opportunities available. Are you considering making improvements on your home, but find them difficult to afford? There are zero-interest Home Improvement Loans available through the Dakota County Community Development Agency. Check out the loan details and income threshold to qualify for these loans.

Also, with Memorial Day and the Fourth of July right around the corner, it may be time to invest in a new American Flag. Often times properly disposing of a flag with honor can be an issue. If you have an American flag that is worn or tattered, the City Eagan has partnered with the American Legion to recycle American Flags. You can find more information about where to participate here.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Laurie Halverson

 

P.S.: Please feel free to share this email to your friends and neighbors so they can sign up for my e-updates.

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