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Legislative Update (5-1-15)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

On Wednesday, the House approved a Health and Human Services bill that will bring much needed assistance to nursing homes in Greater Minnesota.

This bill provides real reform to nursing homes and those who care for them by implementing a statewide rate of reimbursement – which will strongly assist nursing homes in Greater Minnesota, improve the wages of care providers and provide a permanent solution to statewide nursing home needs.

Here is a list of nursing homes in District 2B that would benefit under this new reimbursement rate system. The following totals represent the annual change in Medicaid and estimated private revenue for the 2016 rate year if the House legislation is signed into law by the Governor:


  • Lake Park – Sunnyside Care Center: $562,153, a 25% increase
  • Frazee – Frazee Care Center: $583,630, a 16% increase

  • Park Rapids – Heritage Living Center: $732,656, a 25% increase

  • Mahnomen – Mahnomen Health Center: $680,125, a 44% increase

  • Menahga – Green Pine Acres Nursing Home: $807,577, a 24% increase

Also included in this bill is a one-time five percent cost of living adjustment for home and community based care workers.

Last Saturday, the House took up and approved the Education Finance omnibus bill. This bill works to ensure that all Minnesota children, regardless of zip-code, have the opportunity to receive a world-class education.

A major component of the bill is an increase in per-pupil funding for schools in Greater Minnesota. Specifically, non-metro schools can be expected to see a $196 increase in per pupil funding.

Additionally, the bill gives school districts more flexibility to hire and retain teachers and returns decision-making to local principals, superintendents, and school boards.

Ultimately, the greatest factor impacting student achievement, aside from parental involvement, is an effective teacher. Our bill will help our schools make student-focused decisions and offer more flexibility to our locally elected officials to ensure that Minnesota remains a leader in preparing our students for rich and rewarding futures.

Also taking place this week was the passage of the Omnibus Tax Bill. This bill provides nearly $2 billion in tax relief to middle-class families, college students, aging adults, veterans, farmers, and job creators. The most significant part of our bill is a new Minnesota personal or dependent tax exemption that could save a middle-class family of four more than $500 over the next two years.

Other highlights include:


  • 2,045,000 Minnesotans could receive relief through a NEW state version of the personal or dependent exemption on tax returns equal to 25 percent of the federal exemption.
  • 366,500 aging adults living on fixed income could receive relief from the phasing-out of the tax on social security.

  • 240,000 farmers could receive relief through a property tax credit that reduces their disproportionate share of school district debt service.

  • 130,000 families with pre-kindergarteners could receive relief through the expansion of the education deduction to include pre-kindergarten expenses.

  • 109,500 college students could receive student loan debt relief through a NEW tax credit for principal and interest loan payments on student loans.

Finally, on Thursday, the House passed the Legacy Omnibus bill. This bill contains a provision authored by me that would prohibit previous Legacy fund recipients from receiving additional money if the legislative auditor determines they violated any laws, rules or regulations related to the funding. This is a common sense measure that ensures that any group or entity that is receiving taxpayer funded Legacy dollars should comply with rules and regulations set forth by the Legislature.

I will have more updates next week as we continue working towards our constitutionally obligated May 18th adjournment.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have a question or comment about a piece of legislation or a state agency. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-9918 or via email at

Have a great weekend,


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