A couple photos from the opening of the 2017 Legislative Session
The 2017 legislative session kicked off on Tuesday, and I’d first like to say it’s an honor and privilege to once again be representing our community at the Capitol. Talking with folks across our district throughout the fall, it’s clear that you had a number of important priorities, and I hope we can address many of them this session.
Here is an update about some of the things that the House has already done in its first week.
On Thursday, the House acted quickly to pass $21.7 million in immediate tax relief for Minnesotans across the state by conforming state tax provisions to those of the federal government. We needed to act fast because according to the Department of Revenue, tax conformity legislation must be signed into law by January 11th to update tax filing programs and avoid complications for early filers.
Key provisions in House File 2 include deductions for higher education expenses, deductions for teacher classroom expenses and itemized deductions for mortgage insurance premiums.
I am glad that the House was able to quickly pass this legislation and provide Minnesotans tax relief early this year. Expect a larger tax relief package to be crafted and passed off the House Floor later this session.
Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Bill
Also on Thursday, House Republicans introduced House File 1, the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill, an immediate response to our state’s MNsure mess that will provide direct premium relief to Minnesotans.
The first part of the legislation provides a 25 percent premium reduction across the board for folks on the individual market for the first three months of 2017. After that, it’s a tiered premium reduction based on income. This one-time $300 million appropriation will apply to people who do not receive federal tax credits.
In addition to providing financial relief to those struggling under the financial burden of out-of-control premiums, HF 1 also contains a number of important reforms to improve access to care and increase transparency and competition in the market. The bill extends the 120-day continuity of care for critical cases, requires rates to become public ten days after initial filing to improve transparency and allow more time for state leaders to act, ends surprise billing and allows for-profit HMOs to operate in Minnesota.
This bill is an important first step to begin unraveling our state’s health care crisis caused by MNsure and Obamacare, providing direct premium relief to those in need, preserving patient care for people with serious conditions who are losing access to their doctor and increasing consumer protections.
I hope that we can pass this bill off the House Floor quickly and will keep you updated.
If you have ideas, suggestions or concerns about legislation being debated in the House this session, I welcome you to contact my office. Your input is invaluable and helps me better represent the priorities of our community.
It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!