Neighbors and Friends,
We’re now in the fourth week of the legislative session and things are really starting to pick up. Here’s an update:
The House and Senate passed the premium relief bill yesterday, after a compromise was reached on the measure. Thousands of Minnesotans who buy their health insurance on the individual market were facing premium increases of up to 60%. DFLers were able to stop a provision that allowed insurance companies to sell policies that wouldn’t cover cancer treatment, emergency services, Lyme disease and nearly 100 other conditions or services.
This isn’t the perfect solution and it does include some bogus changes to Minnesota’s insurance laws that will allow for-profit HMO’s to operation in our state-which I don’t support. However, thousands of Minnesotans were hurting and we needed to provide relief. Those incurring large premiums are getting help and we stopped the most terrible parts of the original bill.
State of the State/Budget
Monday night, Governor Dayton delivered his seventh State of the State to a joint legislative session of the House and Senate. Although his speech was cut short, he did outline a broad vision for improving the lives of all Minnesotans; much was related to education and sustainable budgeting for long term solutions.
Tuesday, the Governor released his budget, where he expanded on State of the State themes – focusing on investing in all levels of education. He proposed voluntary pre-kindergarten for all of Minnesota’s children, a 2% increase in education funding this year and the next, and to plan to hold down college debt so we keep our graduates among the best in the nation in workforce readiness.
He also proposed a public option to increase competition and drive down health insurance costs. He called for everyone to join together in the shared goal of cleaning up our precious lakes and streams. Finally, he also asked that the legislature work with him to finally come to a long-term solution to the $6 billion funding shortfall we have in our transportation budget over the next 10 years.
Governor Dayton’s vision is one of continued positive growth for all Minnesotan. I continue to wish him good health and look forward to working with him so everyone in our community has the opportunity to get ahead.
The Real ID bill is ready to be heard on the House floor. Minnesotans want certainty that they will be able to board airplanes when Real ID is fully implemented in 2018. Minnesotans can buy an enhanced driver’s license, but normal licenses aren’t Real ID compliant. I’m committed to making sure you’re able to board airplanes in 2018 with just your driver’s license.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any issues or concern you may have.
Michael V. Nelson