Greetings from the House, where on Thursday we approved the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill to provide relief to Minnesotans dealing with skyrocketing MNsure premium costs.
Provisions to ensure continuity of care for those receiving life-saving treatments that are no longer covered by 2017 insurance policies also are included. So are some important initial steps toward reform for the individual market that seek to increase employer-sponsored care and contributions, introduce more competition into the market, and improve protections for consumers.
There are some discrepancies between respective House and Senate bills that need to be reconciled before it can be submitted to the governor for his action. Look for that work to happen soon.
In other news, I have authored a bill that would prohibit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources from further restricting the use of lead shot in the state.
The bill is in response to the DNR proposing to prohibit lead shot from being used on hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in what is known as the "farmland zone" of our state.
This is just another push from extreme environmentalists who appear to be inching toward a complete ban on lead shot. Small-game hunters are concerned about the big picture of what the DNR is proposing, and for good reason. Their proposed ban in the farmland zone would impact an enormous number of other acres without sound science to support the move.
State law already prohibits the use of lead shot for waterfowl over bodies of water and wetlands. The farmland zone the DNR proposes expanding to include roughly lies south of the Interstate 94 corridor, stretching from the Wisconsin border near Pine City to the northwest corner of Minnesota.
Previous attempts at banning lead shot have come before the Legislature and failed to pass. That is proof the system is working.
The DNR would be circumventing due process in making law by unilaterally setting this regulation. This is a Second Amendment issue and the public deserves a chance to participate in the process instead of St. Paul bureaucrats playing to their own agenda.
Stay tuned as things shake out in St. Paul and, as always, your feedback is appreciated on these or any other issues.