Hello from the State Capitol,
Here’s an update on what’s going on in St. Paul.
Bill for Highway 14
This week, I introduced legislation with several of my colleagues from both parties to provide funding for the reconstruction of State Highway 14 from Owatonna to Dodge Center. The funding would make the highway four-lanes between Interstate 35 and Highway 56.
Please watch my legislative video update below where I highlight the Health Exchange Bill, the February Budget Forecast, and my LEA “Outstanding Legislator” award.
Health Exchange Bill
Minnesota House Democrats, along with one Republican, passed the Democrat’s Health Insurance Exchange legislation which creates a new super agency in state government, changing the way our health insurance industry will operate. I spoke out against the bill because of its lack of safeguards to lower costs, protect privacy, and increase consumer choice. I want to support legislation that would help lower health insurance premiums, provide coverage for more Minnesotans, produce savings throughout the system, and improve the quality of care received by all of us. This bill does none of those.
The bill makes the most significant changes to Minnesota’s health insurance industry in a generation and brings Obamacare’s costly and infringing mandates to Minnesota. After the Affordable Care Act was passed, each state had the option of building its own insurance exchange or defer to the federal exchange. Half of U.S. states have decided against the state-based exchange, including most of our Midwest neighbors, but Governor Dayton and DFL leaders have imposed this new system on all of us.
This new super agency lacks serious data privacy protections that put your health information at risk. Per the requirements of Obamacare, they will share information outside Minnesota such as private medical, tax, family, employment, income and other data. For now, the bill goes to Conference Committee and will come back to the House for final passage later this month.
Opposition to Unionizing Small Business Daycares
HF950, chief-authored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and supported by AFSCME Council 5, provides a process for unionizing family childcare providers who serve families receiving subsidized child care assistance. This legislation is the latest in a seven-year push by AFSCME and their allies to unionize childcare providers. The most recent attempt occurred when Gov. Dayton attempted to force a union vote in 2011 with an executive order. In April 2012, Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman ruled that the governor’s directive was an “unconstitutional usurpation of the legislature’s constitutional right to make or amend our laws.”
If unionized, childcare providers serving our low income families and children would be required to pay union dues or fair share fees, thus potentially driving up costs or reducing services. When unionized, the state of Minnesota becomes the “employer of record,” thus putting the state in the middle of a relationship that is primarily between the parent and their provider of choice.
Make no mistake, this attempt to unionize child care providers is not about wages or affordability, it is about growing union membership for political purposes. I am opposed to any law that forces unwilling providers to join a union and pay dues.
Thanks to all of you that have visited me in St. Paul. This week I met with: