Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Erik Anderson 651-296-5318

Posted: 2017-10-09
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Press Release

Legislative Update - October 9, 2017

Dear neighbors,


These early days of fall are busy and full of opportunities. Here are a few news items from the Capitol and the community I wanted to pass along to you. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  As always, I am happy to hear from you.


Department of Commence Releases Health Insurance Premium Rates

Last week, the Department of Commence released statewide Health Insurance Premium Rates. Everyone agrees that all Minnesotans deserve access to quality, affordable health insurance and the care they need. But unfortunately, too many families still don’t have it. Premiums are continuing to rise after the House reinsurance ‘fix’ did not provide more access nor completely address rising costs. Out-of-pocket costs are sky-rocketing for Minnesotans who received a one-time 25% discount last year, but will be paying full price this year.  Minnesotans need a long-term solution, not a one-time fix, and unpredictable plans each year. Unfortunately, the final bill left a better option on the table last year, the MinnesotaCare Buy-in. With this proposal, which I support, Minnesotans could see lower premiums and more options. 


Woodbury Advisory Commissions

The city of Woodbury is seeking applicants to fill open spots on its four citizen advisory commissions: Audit and Investment, Parks and Natural Resources, Planning, and Economic Development. If you are a Woodbury resident, have interest in our community and serving on a commission please download the application by clicking here. The city can also send you a paper copy by calling651-714-3500. The application deadline is Tuesday October 17th at the close of business. This is an exciting and productive way to learn about and contribute to the community.


Policymakers Talk Gold Line in D.C.

Several business, education, and government leaders from our area traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the Minnesota delegation urging for their support of the bus rapid transit line connecting the east metro with downtown Saint Paul. This project is making its way through the extensive review process and is competing with many other projects around the country for funding. The Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit is set to become the states’ first rapid transit line within a dedicated busway. This is an exciting opportunity and I will keep you all updated with future developments. 


Forest Service Public Comment Period Closes on October 10th

The U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota DNR are seeking public comment for a possible land exchange which would include over 30,000 acres of land. To find out more information on school trust land in Minnesota click here. You may send your public comment on the School Trust Land Exchange Draft EIS here:


Peter Taylor
Superior National Forest All Units
8901 Grand Ave Place, Duluth, MN, 55808


Interim Work on Legislation Continues (this among others…)

You may have read the Star Tribune series of four articles by Jennifer Bjorhus on policy structure of Public Safety in the State, and what the impact of those policies are for communities and the public safety officers. I serve on the House Public Safety Policy and Finance Committee and have been working on the issues addressed in the series. I introduced a bill toward the end of the 2017 Session as a basis for deep and extended conversation with key stakeholders. The focus is to evaluate and address some of the concerns Ms. Bjorhus brings up.  Creating safer communities through better public policy is my goal. There are many facets to this issue, and we need to start learning what our current status is, what we want it to be like, and how to get there.  We need good data, an understanding of best practices in law enforcement agencies, and the best public policy to support the outcomes we expect. These are not quick, or easy conversations and decisions, but I believe that my bill will be a good place to start. Minnesota’s police licensing board is considering updating their conduct standard. You may read more by clicking here.


DNR Fall Color Finder

Signs of fall are everywhere. In Minnesota, we are fortunate to have many state parks that are open to all. Right now is a great time to enjoy them and experience the fall colors. The Minnesota DNR provides daily updates on how the fall colors are progressing through the state. This is a great tool for planning day or weekend trips. Click here to find out more.




JoAnn Ward

State Representative

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn