Some updates from Saint Paul:
Good News on the Budget
Last week, we received some much-needed good news about our state's budget. The February forecast put out by the Minnesota Management & Budget Office showed that our economic outlook has continued to improve, as it has for every forecast dating back to 2010. The 2012-2013 biennium showed a positive balance of $295 million dollars, most of which will go to paying back the school shift.
Additionally, the projected 2014-2015 deficit dropped by $463 million dollars from $1.1 billion to $627 million. This is a dramatic improvement from the $4.4 billion dollar 2014-2015 deficit that was once anticipated at the end of 2011.
Visits this Week
It was great to meet with a number of constituents and groups who came to discuss a wide variety of issues. Some of the visits included:
LuAnne & Nicole who visited on behalf of the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
Several doctors from the district who work at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Tim Flor & Dr. Tim Holland who visited as a part of Minnesota Dental Day at the Capitol.
Constituents who came as a part of Minnesota Social Workers Day on the Hill.
Constituents who visited as a part of AFSCME Day on the Hill.
Representatives from the Steele County Soil & Water Conservation District.
Members of the Farm Bureau from Steele and Waseca County
I also had the chance to attend the Land Stewardship Project's 8th Annual Family Farm Breakfast at the Capitol.
Today, the House is expected to take up HF005, the Health Insurance Exchange Bill. The bill has been rushed through the committee process in order to comply with the deadline at the end of March, and I have three remaining concerns about the bill in its current form:
Cost: There are very few provisions to improve the affordability of health costs and health insurance.
Oversight: There is no legislative oversight for the Health Insurance Exchange Bill.
Data Privacy: The bill currently excludes important data privacy protections that could put the security of your private health data at risk.
I have received a number emails from constituents encouraging me to support an amendment to the Exchange bill that would prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions. I plan to support this important pro-life amendment.
Have a great week,
State Representative, District 24A