Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Friday was the first committee deadline at the legislature. For policy bills to continue moving towards the floor for a vote, either the House or Senate needed to have had a hearing on the bill by Friday. This made for a busy week and some late nights at the Capitol.
Earlier this month, I sent out some information about the healthcare data privacy bill I am authoring. Your health records belong to you and you should be able to determine who can see this private information. My bill would give Minnesota patients control over how their private medical information is shared. Click here to read the op-ed I recently wrote in the Star Tribune.
Judiciary & Civil Law Bills
Last week, the Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division approved a broad bill covering several judicial and civil law topics. The bill includes a few measures I am authoring and have filled you in on in previous updates.
One provision that has been included is my bill to modify state law surrounding data breaches. My bill would ensure proper notification to individuals affected by data breaches in order to best protect the personal data of Minnesotans.
Another bill of mine in this package would require courts to post parent education programs on the judicial district’s website. Current law requires the courts to implement parent education programs to educate parents about methods for preventing parenting time conflicts as well as the impact divorce, family restructuring, and judicial proceedings have on children and families. My bill would also require the court to notify parents of the option to resolve parenting time disagreements through private mediation.
I’m pleased that these important measures that I’m advocating for will be included. This bill must now come before the House as a whole for a vote. I’ll fill you in on any developments with it going forward.
Paid Family Leave
Democrats in the legislature have proposed legislation to implement in Minnesota a single payer, government-run paid sick and family leave program. The proposal establishes a new state bureaucracy funded by a new employer and employee payroll tax. This tax would apply to all employees and independent contractors and would result in millions of dollars in wages lost for hardworking Minnesotans.
Ensuring more Minnesotans have access to paid sick and family leave is a worthwhile goal and something worth exploring. However, I have significant concerns with this proposal. Over the last few years we’ve seen state government struggle to effectively run programs such as MNsure and MNLARS. Given these failures, I am hesitant to support the creation of more government bureaucracy, especially when it will take money out of Minnesotans’ paychecks. I am also concerned by this proposal’s impact on Minnesota employers – including small businesses – that are already facing thin margins and often struggling to make payroll.
Last week the Judiciary and Civil Law committee also heard a bill to create surrogacy requirements in Minnesota. One of my biggest concerns with this legislation is that it fails to restrict multiple-embryo transfers, which opens the door for selective reduction abortions. On this ground alone, I cannot support this.
Another concern I have is that it doesn’t require surrogacy agencies to be licensed by the Department of Health. I fear it would create commercial surrogacy in Minnesota and would fail to protect women and children from exploitation. Without adequate protections for the surrogate mother, this has the potential to result in the exploitation of women who are economically vulnerable and in need of compensation. Commercial surrogacy is viewed as a human trafficking issue and is condemned as a form of violence against women.
Ultimately, this bill is too loosely written and fails to specifically address these concerns.
Please Contact Me
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or input by phone at 651-296-4231 or by email at email@example.com.
Have a great week,