ST. PAUL - An amendment state Rep. Dean Urdahl authored to help protect pensions for numerous nursing home workers passed the House floor recently as part of the Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance Bill.
The Grove City Republican’s amendment fixes a pension snag which resulted when a number of Minnesota’s public nursing homes made a transition to private operations. Urdahl said funding for the pensions became available with federal stimulus money provided to Minnesota.
“Our long-term care providers are invaluable to our local communities,” Urdahl said. “It is important for us to support them and this amendment fills a need.”
Local nursing homes including Dassel Lakeside Community Home and Burns Manor Nursing Home in Hutchinson were among those affected by a public-private switch. Bill Ward of Lakeside approached Urdahl about crafting legislation to clean up the issues. Urdahl, a longtime supporter of long-term care providers, worked with Ward to ensure the pensions will be sustained.
Rep. Ron Shimanski, R-Silver Lake, co-authored the legislation and Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel, sponsored the Senate version. The legislation currently awaits Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s signature, along with the rest of the HHS bill.
“This amendment holds everyone harmless,” Ward said. “That was the goal and we worked to make that happen.”
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.