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100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895
Legislative Update from Rep. Anna Wills
Some very important bills were debated this week in the House. Here is a brief summary of where the Health care crisis bill and Real ID measures stand in the process.
HF1: MNsure and Health Insurance Relief and Reform
Our health insurance relief bill, HF1, passed the House yesterday evening in a bipartisan vote of 73-54. The Senate version of this bill, SF1, also passed the Senate this week.
The next step for the bill is for a conference committee composed of members from both bodies, and from both sides of the aisle, to meet and debate the differences between the bills, come to a compromise, and send the final agreement to Governor Dayton to be signed.
The formation of the MNsure exchange has had a negative impact on the individual market as well, and it’s essential we address health care coverage in our state as a whole. Not only has the passage of Obamacare and creation of MNsure caused premiums to skyrocket, it has also made it even more difficult for individuals to keep their doctors and have coverage on life-saving cancer treatments. HF1 contains reforms that guarantee continuity of care for these critical treatments, and helps people keep their doctor for up to 120 days. Additional reforms include measures to increase competition in the insurance marketplace, improve transparency, and protect consumers. These reforms are meant to address concerns both for those with plans through the MNsure exchange itself, as well as people purchasing insurance in the individual market.
The first and most pressing need for Minnesotans is premium relief. HF1 will get $300 million in immediate assistance to people who are being crushed under the weight of skyrocketing premium costs.
For more information regarding specific reforms in HF1, here
is a link to my previous email update containing a detailed overview. These specific provisions may change a little once House and Senate members have come to an agreement in conference committee. I will provide a more specific outline of the final bill once it passes both bodies and is sent to Governor Dayton for his signature.
HF2: Federal Tax Conformity
On the first working day of session, the House passed our federal tax conformity bill, which streamlined the process of filing state and federal tax returns, and will provide Minnesotans with $21.7 million in tax relief for their 2016 filings.
I am pleased to say that tax conformity passed the Senate, and was signed by Governor Dayton in time for 2016 tax filings.
HF3: Real ID
As I have mentioned before, Real ID is a top priority issue for us at the Capitol this session. The House’s Real ID bill has made its way through the committee process, and will be brought to the House floor for a vote in the near future.
I have received several questions regarding Real ID, and I think I should take this opportunity to clarify a few things. There has been some very misleading information circulating about what the ID entails, and the reason why this is an important issue to address now.
As many people know, in a year, Minnesotans will no longer be able to use their current driver’s licenses to board an airplane, enter military bases, or gain admittance to any federal facilities. Many Minnesotans want to get an license that is complaint with federal standards so they can bypass these inconveniences. On the other hand, many Minnesotans believe there are certain data privacy concerns with the new Real IDs, citing that your information will be run through an additional database to improve the security of these new IDs.
I want to be clear; our Real ID bill allows for BOTH options. You will be able to choose a Real ID or a standard license like you can be issued now. Folks on both sides of the issue will be able to pick the option that best suits them and their concerns.
A second important point of clarification: the new Real IDs will not contain the RFID chips that passports and Minnesota Enhanced IDs have. The primary difference between the Real IDs and our current license is that the information you provide to get your license will be run through an extra database. I will keep you updated on this bill as it progresses.
Social Security Tax Exemption
Many of you have contacted me about the important issue of income tax exemption for social security benefits. There is no income tax on social security income in 36 other states, and I believe it is time for Minnesota to become the 37th. House File 213 (HF213) would make all social security benefits in Minnesota tax-exempt.
I am proud to be a co-author on this important piece of legislation, and I hope we can get it passed into law this session.
Veterans Job Fair
The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with Dakota County Technical College, will be holding a Veterans Job Fair next week on Wednesday, January 25th, from 10:00 AM
to 2:00 PM.
The event will be in Dakota County Tech's Dakota Room and West Atrium areas on the first floor. Veteran job seekers are encouraged to stop by and see what hiring opportunities are available!
Job postings are now available to view online for preparation ahead of time. Go to: http://bit.ly/2hOggWP
for more information!
Thank you to so many of you who have contacted me with your kind words of congratulations on the birth of our twins! We are adjusting to being a family of five and enjoying these precious babies.
Also, thank you for your patience for the delay in responding to your individual emails, I will respond as I am able to.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 651-296-4306
. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills
. If you plan to stop by and visit me at the Capitol when I'm back from maternity leave, my office is 491 in the State Office Building.
State Representative, District 57B