ST. PAUL – Two bills aimed at improving child care, authored by Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls), were included into the Health and Human Services omnibus bill, which was approved July 13 by the Legislature.
The first reduces the child care licensing fee by 25 percent in order to provide relief to child care providers who experienced an increase in their fee in 2003.
The second modifies the child care reimbursement rate formula, which will help child care providers in Greater Minnesota who saw a decrease in their reimbursement rate following a rate freeze in 2003.
Prior to 2003, the state had the authority to establish maximum half-day child care reimbursement rates for each type of care. In 2003, those half-day rates were eliminated. This bill restores the authority to establish maximum rates for child care assistance provided on a half-day basis.
“Our children are our most precious resource, and we need to provide the best services for them,” Nornes said. “These pieces of legislation will help to ensure that those in need receive these services.”
The two-year $9 billion health & human services finance bill funds a broad range of health and social service programs. The legislation provides nursing home employees a 2.26 percent cost-of-living- adjustment (COLA) in 2006 and a 2.26 percent COLA in 2007. In addition, the legislation contains a significant reform that will base nursing home reimbursement rates on the quality of care delivered. The bill also removes the retroactivity provisions of a law that penalized many seniors who had created life estates for their children.
The bill maintains current enrollments in MinnesotaCare, the state subsidized health insurance program for low- and middle-income Minnesotans. Thousands were expected to lose coverage under earlier proposals.