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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Linda Runbeck (R)

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Town halls recap & the latest from the Capitol

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Neighbor,


District 38A residents who attended town hall meetings with Sen. Roger Chamberlain and me recently made a few things clear. Notably, they expressed frustration over legislators acting as if they know better how to run our lives, indicated they favor a competitive and free economy and are concerned bureaucrats have lost touch with what’s truly important – children – in our educational system.


I encourage follow-up comments and feedback from people who may have been unable to attend the town halls. The best way to reach me during the session is by emailing



Week 4 of the 2014 legislative session is nearing its end. Today is a key day, the deadline to have bills heard by at least one respective House committee in order to remain alive in the traditional enactment process.



A deluge of bills coming before committees this week include:

  • A bill requiring public employers to establish workforce bullying policies.
  • Legislation that raises $750 million in taxes through a NEW sales tax on motor fuels and increases the sales tax for transit in the metro area.
  • The House Democrats’ new tax bill.
  • A supplemental budget bill for Minnesota state colleges and universities. It appropriates $17 million and adds $14 million to the base funding. Remember, MnSCU received a huge funding increase last session in exchange for holding tuition flat. Shortly after the bill was enacted, MnSCU settled contract negotiations. The new contract contained significant pay and benefit increases, causing a “need” for this additional revenue.
  • A bill requiring "pay equity" as a condition for companies seeking state contracts.
  • A bill establishing a state retirement account for private employees
  • Requirements that raises from 30 to 50 the number of hours of supervised driving for teens to receive a provisional drivers' license.



A deadline of a different sort is approaching as Minnesotans must select a plan and pay the premium in full by March 31 to avoid penalties for not having health insurance. It will be interesting to see what transpires since MNsure enrollment has fallen far short of even worst-case projections and now the IRS deadline to be fully enrolled is in less than two weeks.


We recently received updated data which shows 33,680 enrollments are “in process” for commercial plans (individual and small business) as of March 8. This is just 19 percent of MNsure’s lowest original estimate of 177,125 commercial plan enrollments by March 31. Continued low enrollment numbers would leave all Minnesotans paying higher premiums and higher taxes for a program that, so far, has failed to live up to promises made to citizens.



Linda Runbeck

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