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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Tama Theis

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

First of all, congratulations to the St. Cloud State hockey team for their win last weekend against UMD!

Here's a look at what's been happening at the Capitol this week:

On Monday, several House Republicans held a press conference calling for additional funding for the Minnesota Disaster Contingency Account. The account has been depleted following two major floods last year, and needs to be funded before the extensive flooding expected this spring. I am a co-author of HF 2317, a bill that would appropriate $20 million in both 2019 and 2020, so that we can respond quickly to the flooding emergencies that will affect many of our communities in the coming months.

This week, HF 1956 (Gov. Walz’s Clean Energy First Act) was heard in the Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division. This bill is a mandate that by 2050, 100 percent of the state’s electricity must be produced from “clean” sources, and excluding the nuclear power that currently exists in Minnesota. This mandate will drive up costs for electricity and will threaten the reliability of our energy grid, especially during extreme weather, like polar vortexes.

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released a report investigating fraud in the CCAP program. The investigation found rampant fraud in the program and a lack of internal controls at the Department of Human Services, making prosecuting fraud difficult. House Republicans have introduced several bills that would address the concerns of the Legislative Auditor, but have not received hearings.

This week, the Senate passed a bill to extend reinsurance for three more years, but Democrats voted against bringing the bill up for a final vote on the House floor. This program has been proven to be successful in lowering health insurance premiums on the individual market. During the floor debate on Monday, it was noted that the fiscal impact as reported by MMB would lead to a 54% increase in premiums in the private insurance market if reinsurance is not passed. If we let this program end, rates will skyrocket and the individual market will suffer.

Finally, yesterday I presented a bill to allow doula services to be reimbursed by Medical Assistance for about twice the current rate. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.

It was a great week for constituent visits – here are some photos!

Tierra Nelson from St. Augusta with the Resolve Infertility Association
Andrea Harrell from Waite Park at the Captiol for Disability Services Day
Stearns and Benton County Farm Bureau - with Karen Williams, with us from the MN Internship Center to shadow legislators!
David Glenn from St. Augusta with MN Citizens for the Arts
Katherine Leithner and others from the MN Chiropractic Association
KNSI Radio with the Ox

It's an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!