For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522
It was a busy week at the legislature last week and it’s going to ramp up even more this week. Last week, we continued to learn more about Governor Dayton’s $37.9 billion budget proposal that raises $3.7 billion in new taxes. One of the things I discovered is that the governor’s plan would impose a sales tax on personal instruction – including swimming lessons. With the multitude of parents who enroll their children in Foss Swim School in our area, that tax is going to hit families hard. Given the fact that much of our district surrounds beautiful Lake Minnetonka, I do not think our state should be taxing swimming lessons! Learning how to swim is a necessity in our community. If you want to read more about my thoughts on Governor Dayton’s budget, I encourage you to read my column in the Lake Minnetonka Patch.
I’ve also spent a lot of my time this past week in committee learning about the proposed health insurance exchange for Minnesota. I’m very concerned about the broad access the state and federal government will be granted to information of a very personal nature. Examples include financial records to verify eligibility, employer-employee records, tax information, personal medical information, and patient notes compiled by doctors and nurses, to name just a few. A professor at the University of Minnesota was recently quoted in USA Today referring to the exchange as “the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic.” The more I learn about the sweeping effects of this legislation, the more concerned I become. One specific concern I’ve had is the lack of recourse consumers would have to appeal decisions relating to the denial of insurance coverage under the exchange. An amendment I proposed (and which passed!) in the Civil Law Committee would afford patients and consumers avenues to appeal such decisions.
This week, the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee will be hearing testimony on proposed gun control legislation. I greatly appreciate all the constituent feedback I’ve already received on this topic. If this is an issue of importance to you, I encourage you to come to the Capitol to voice your comments or concerns. You can find more information here about the hearings.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Dennis Petersen, superintendent of the Minnetonka School District. It was a pleasure to meet with him and discuss the importance of maintaining the excellence of Minnetonka Public Schools. As a mom with kids who graduated from Minnetonka High School, I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to provide our children with a world-class education and to ensure our district’s schools remain the “gold standard” within our state and nation.
On Friday, I toured Ridgeview Medical Center at the invitation of its CEO. It was inspiring to witness the many innovations this state-of-the-art medical facility has implemented. I am convinced Ridgeview could serve as a model for state government as we must learn how to accomplish more with less spending.
I also was able to meet with Len Simich, CEO of SouthWest Transit. He alerted me to several concerns relating to Governor Dayton’s proposed transit budget that could affect the operation of SouthWest Transit. Please be assured I will continue to advocate for transportation funding that focuses on expanding and fixing our roads, bridges, and infrastructure as well as supporting SouthWest Transit and its customer-focused bus transportation.
Along with Representative Joe Hoppe and Senator Dave Osmek, I had the pleasure of meeting with Chanhassen Mayor Tom Furlong and the members of the Chanhassen City Council. Just as Thomas Jefferson said, I believe that government closest to the people governs best. I will continue to reach out to elected city and school board members across the district so that I can effectively advocate local concerns on your behalf at the Capitol.
I want to thank those of you who have contacted me with your questions, comments, and concerns. If you missed my previous legislative updates, you can find them on my website. As your representative, I want to hear from you. If you have any ideas for proposed legislation specific to the committees on which I serve, I welcome your input. You can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-4315. Mail can be sent to Rep. Cindy Pugh, 313 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.
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Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you!