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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, May 4, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

It was a busy week filled with late nights on the floor of the House as we approved a number of omnibus finance bills.

Two bills in particular that I want to highlight are the transportation and health and human services bills.

The transportation bill builds on the successes of last year’s legislation that saw one of the largest investments in our state’s roads and bridges in history when not raising the gas tax.

Our supplemental transportation finance bill utilizes surplus funds leveraged with trunk highway bonds to spend $385 million on transportation needs this year.

Highlights from the bill include:

  • $250 million in Trunk Highway bonds
  • $145 million in Trunk Highway bonds and $10 million in cash for Corridors of Commerce program projects
  • $25 million for county roads, $6.6 million for city roads, $2 million for township roads
  • Additional $7 million for Small Cities Assistance Program for cities under 5,000
  • $75 million for trunk highway rail grade separation projects
  • $9 million to deputy registrars for MNLARS reimbursement aid
  • Establishes the Freight Rail Economic Development Program

I am proud that we are keeping our commitment to the people of Minnesota by investing in our roads and bridges infrastructure without raising taxes.

Second, I wanted to highlight the health and human services omnibus bill. Health and human services (HHS) spending is the single largest component of the state budget and something that is in serious need of reforms to rein in costs. 

Affordable health care and the well-being of Minnesotans will always be a top priority for myself as your elected representative. That’s why I am pleased to report that the main priorities of this year’s HHS bill focus on reducing health care costs, combatting the opioid epidemic, protecting vulnerable adults, and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse of public health dollars.

Other highlights include:

  • Cutting the MNsure tax on health plans, saving Minnesotans $30 million
  • Combatting the opioid epidemic by limiting prescription lengths, creating two pilot projects, and requiring physicians to undergo training on opioid prescribing best practices
  • Protecting vulnerable and aging adults by strengthening the tools the state can use against perpetrators of elder abuse, and holding state agencies accountable for their shortcoming on investigating and triaging maltreatment
  • Reforms to reduce potential fraud and helps the state recoup over $30 million lost through improper billing in 2015
  • Reinstating the impending 7% cut to Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) rates
  • Investing in mental health care by funding Crisis Connection hotline, extending funding for children’s mental health residential services, and allowing for school-linked mental health via telemedicine

Both bills represent strong negotiating positions with the Senate and Governor Dayton as we prepare to open conference committees and come to final agreement on legislation the governor will sign into law.

Staying in Touch

As always, if you have any questions regarding this legislation or any other matter of state government, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I can be contacted by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Thank you and have a great weekend,

Glenn

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