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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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News from St. Paul

Friday, April 5, 2019

Thanks to representatives of Clarkfield Home Health Agency (above) and Housing First (below) for coming to my legislative office in St. Paul to talk about the issues.

Dear Neighbor,

Congratulations to the city of Canby for receiving a $10,000 grant to hire a qualified consultant to develop architectural drawings for the historic Canby Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a history grant from the Minnesota Legacy appropriations from the Arts and Culture Heritage Fund. Congratulations to everyone involved in submitting a successful grant application to benefit this local treasure. I am proud to support the Canby Theatre so that future generations may continue to enjoy it as others have the past several decades.

In other news:

IDs for undocumented immigrants

The House is on the floor today discussing a bill the majority has brought forward to issue driver’s licenses and state ID cards to undocumented immigrants. Expect this to be a vigorous debate over the rationality and concerns of this proposal.

Minnesota has been implementing federal Real ID standards to comply with heightened federal security standards. This attempt to provide a new, non-Real ID version for undocumented immigrants may allow people to completely sidestep increased ID requirements and create a whole new licensing category. Numerous public safety concerns also exist with this proposal.

Felons working with vulnerable citizens

Earlier this week, the House majority approved on a party-line vote a bill which people convicted of serious felony and criminal convictions that are more than 20 years old to be in contact with vulnerable citizens by filling positions such as personal care attendants, providers of home and community-based care services for Minnesotans with disabilities, adult day services and non-emergency medical transportation drivers.

Enactment of this bill would invite trouble and it is hard to comprehend why the House majority proposes allowing people convicted of murder, drive-by-shooting, felony-level stalking, child abuse, and solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct to be in contact with vulnerable citizens.

Dems propose cutting nursing homes, raising health care taxes

In order to fund all of their new programs, the Democrats propose cutting nursing home rates while bringing back a tax on health care and creating a new tax on insulin manufacturers.

The omnibus Health and Human Services bill they put forward includes an extension of the provider tax that will increase the cost of health care by $1 billion over the next two years, and includes changes to nursing home reimbursement rates that result in cuts to about half of Minnesota's nursing facilities. Various advocacy groups testified against the proposed cuts during a recent committee hearing. The bill also fails to extend Minnesota's reinsurance program, which could cause premium rates to balloon next year.

State of the State Address

Tim Walz issued his first State of the State Address as Minnesota’s governor and his theme focused on a “Let’s write a story” message and wanting to “do things a new way.” While words matter to a degree, his actions are where the rubber meets the road and they tell a different story so far.

If the governor wants to do things a new way, he could start by proposing innovative/creative transportation funding methods, getting out of the way of Line 3 and paying more attention to his state agencies which have been running adrift.