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State Representative Anna Wills

491 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4306

For more information contact: Leah Patton 651-296-9895

Posted: 2017-06-09
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update from Rep. Anna Wills


Dear Friends,

We are well into interim, and there are still a couple of points to cover regarding what we accomplished this last session. In addition, by way of a quick note, special sessions can be costly to the state's taxpayers, so in an effort to keep this cost down, many of my fellow legislators and myself did not take a per diem allowance for the days were in special session. Below are a few more provisions that we were successful in passing this year.

Social Security Income Exemption

I mentioned last week that a significant portion of our seniors will see a tax exemption on their social security income, which will result in $117 million in relief for Minnesota’s senior citizens.

This is accomplished by a tax subtraction that allows people under the following raised thresholds to take the maximum tax subtraction on their social security income.

  • Married filing jointly: maximum subtraction of $4,500 under a income threshold of $77,000
  • Single and head of household: maximum subtraction of $3,000 under an income threshold of $60,200
  • Married filing separately: maximum subtraction of $2,250 under and income threshold of $38,500

Again, under this provision, nearly 284,000 senior citizen tax returns (single and married filing jointly) would receive tax reductions; 72,000 of those would no longer pay state income tax on their benefits.

Health and Human Services Reforms

Our health and human services reforms included providing emergency premium aid and increased access by passing a 25% health insurance premium rebate and measures ensuring continued access to doctors for patients receiving life-saving treatment and end-of-life care.

We also worked to lower costs and increase choice in the insurance market by passing a suite of reforms that provided more affordable options for small businesses and their employees, protected consumers from unfair billing practices, and allowed organizations with member owners -- such as farm cooperatives -- to provide health insurance to their members.

I am also happy to say that our Health and Humans Services bill focused on protecting our most vulnerable citizens by accomplishing the following:

  • Funds a reduction in TEFRA fees to relieve the financial burden on families with disabled and very sick children;
  • Expands the Home and Community-Based Scholarship and nursing facility educational loan forgiveness to recruit and retain quality staff;
  • Provides funding for first psychiatric episode treatment and services;
  • Provides an operating payment increase for chemical dependency treatment services;
  • Increases emergency shelter and transitional housing for sexually-exploited youth;
  • Implements Safe Harbor for All, a strategic statewide plan for victims of sex-trafficking.
  • Key opioid reforms including:
    • Instituting prescription quantity limits;
    • Increased opioid prescription disclosure requirements;
    • Prohibiting use of pain assessments for patient satisfaction reimbursement incentives;
    • MA reimbursement for substance abuse treatment direct injectable drug.

Veterans Provisions

In our State Government Finance budget bill, several provisions that addressed the needs of our veterans community were signed into law. These reforms included:

  • Enhanced funding for veterans programs.
  • Expanded GI flexibility to include apprenticeships, on-the-job training benefits, and other professional and educational benefits.
  • Funded programs to help veterans achieve home ownership.
  • Funded programs to help veterans returning from active duty with PTSD who get caught up in the legal system.

We are so indebted to every man and woman who chooses to serve our nation and protect us at home, and I am pleased these provisions were included in our final budget. Thank you to all of the veterans from our area who came to the Capitol to advocate for our military men and women who have served, and continue to serve.

My Bills

As I mentioned in last week’s update, my legacy funding and bonding bills requesting funding for the Minnesota Zoo were both included in our budget provisions.

In addition, my bill, HF215, expanding the sales tax exemption for certain non-profits at events from five days to ten days, was also passed along with other tax provisions this session.

It was such a pleasure working alongside people from our community on these issues. I so look forward to hearing from you in these interim months regarding what legislation you think would benefit our community, and carrying bills that were not passed this session into the second year of the biennium.

Almanac Interview

During the last full day of our legislative special session, Twin Cities Public Television host, Mary Lahammer, interviewed my colleague Rep. John Lesch and myself regarding what it was like to parent young children and have such an erratic work schedule.

 

Here is a link to this segment on TPT’s Almanac: https://www.facebook.com/tptalmanac/videos/10154306676122493/

Please note that Governor Dayton has signed all of the budget bills we passed during special session.

Interim Appointments

Just as a quick note, if you would like to meet with me to as any questions or discuss a particular issue, my meetings will be held in-district during these months before next year’s session. Simply use the same contact information for my office below, and we will find a time and place to meet in our community, instead of traveling all the way to Saint Paul!

Keep in Touch

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your comments, questions, and concerns. Email me any time at rep.anna.wills@house.mn or call 651-296-4306. You can also follow my updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repannawills and Twitter at https://twitter.com/annacwills.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

House Image

Anna Wills

State Representative, District 57B

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