MNsure, data privacy, the 2nd Amendment, and education are topics of this week.
Also, I am going to be at McDonald’s in Saint Michael from 10AM to Noon Saturday morning February 21, 2015 (350 Central Ave E, Saint Michael, MN 55376). Please stop by and see me and let me know what is on your mind.
MNsure is Obamacare in Minnesota. The non-partisan Legislative Auditor released its long-awaited MNsure report this week. Among the information included in the report was the Auditor’s conclusion “MNsure’s failures outweighed its achievements.”
The State Auditor’s conclusion should not be a surprise though because the MNsure rollout has been a disaster resulting in higher costs and headaches for hardworking, Minnesota families. The courtyard of bad ideas is full of repeated examples of government bureaucracy attempting to replace private-sector business – inevitably resulting in higher costs and lower quality.
72% of MNsure enrollees surveyed said they already had insurance before signing up for MNsure
Democrats projected 413,000 MNsure commercial enrollments in the 2013 fiscal note, but actual enrollments turned out to be a mere 49,000 people. This is only 12% of the projections!
58% of those surveyed spent four or more hours on the website for the enrollment process
75% of those surveyed who enrolled in a qualified health plan reported having “significant” technical problems with the website
Data privacy press conference
Monday of this week I was part of a press conference to highlight proposed Constitutional Amendment legislation currently working through the Legislature. The proposal only requires a simple majority in both the House and Senate to be added to the November 2016 election ballot for voters to decide. The governor’s signature and approval is not required to be added to the 2016 ballot.
Currently, Article 1, Section 10 of the Minnesota State Constitution reads as follows:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.
Naturally, digital documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, emails, VOIP, and mobile voice and data technologies did not exist at the time of the drafting of the US or Minnesota Constitutions. However, it is my opinion such electronic items are equal in their individual, private ownership to “papers and effects” and should therefore be equally protected against government intrusion without probable cause and a warrant.
The language of the proposed question waiting to be voted upon in both the House and Senate is as follows:
“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended so that the people are secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers, and effects?”
Authors of pro-Second Amendment bills
PRO SECOND AMENDMENT
I gathered in the House gallery with several colleague Representatives. The eight of us are each carrying a different pro-Second Amendment bill. Each of the different bills is designed to protect the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. Rep. Tony Cornish is chairman of the Public Safety Committee of which all eight bills will come before his committee for a hearing.
Committee Activity Highlights
Joining Superintendents Mark Bezek and Jim Behle
HF 175 was heard in the Education Finance Committee. I am the chief author of HF 175, which is one of my two Equity in Education bills (HF 983 being the second bill). I invited Saint Michael-Albertville Superintendent Jim Behle and Elk River Superintendent Mark Bezek to join me at the bill hearing to testify in favor of my bill. After the hearing, I received multiple compliments from my colleague legislators regarding the testimony.
HF 245 was heard in the Education Innovation Policy Committee. HF 245 seeks to create a tax credit of $2,500 for K-12 teachers who complete their master’s degree in a core content area the teacher provides direct classroom instruction in. I voted in favor of the bill to move it to the next committee stop.
Rep. John Petersburg, Saint Michael City Administrator Steve Bot and me.
We heard HF 282 in the Transportation Committee this week. I co-authored this bill which seeks to renew the Corridors of Commerce road and bridges transportation program in the amount of $200,000,000 in fiscal year 2016 and $200,000,000 in fiscal year 2017, totaling $400,000 for the next biennium. St. Michael City Administrator Steve Bot, who also chairs the I-94 West Corridor Coalition, testified during the meeting in favor of the bill.
During the committee hearing, I explained the tremendous growth our northwest extended area has experienced in the last decade and a half such as the Target in Otsego, the Albertville Mall area, Cabela’s in Rogers, the hospital in Maple Grove, multiple large distribution centers, many, many smaller businesses, and thousands of new homes.
I went on to describe the firsthand transportation history our area has experienced over that same time period: Bus service expansion, commuter rail (Northstar) expansion, and roads-and-bridges expansion such as I-94, Hwy. 610, Hwy. 101, Hwy. 241, Hwy. 10, etc. Each of us benefits from efficient road and bridges transportation every single day of each of our lives including the ride to the hospital to be born, school buses to school, the delivery of goods and services we consume every day, response to calls for service by police, fire, and ambulance, and infinite other examples.
I concluded my comments reiterating the point, between road and bridges, buses, and Northstar commuter rail, roads and bridges expansion has proven to be responsible for creating the long-term, sustained economic growth of our area, NOT Northstar commuter rail. These proven results are the reason I am strongly in favor of increased construction of roads and bridges.
Other Bill Activity Highlights
I am the chief author of HF 983. This is my second Equity in Education bill seeking to target the bottom 20% lowest funded school districts with low general education revenue per pupil and low property wealth per pupil. Among the school districts to benefit from this bill are Saint Michael-Albertville, Elk River, and Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose.
Among the bills I co-authored this week:
HF 902 term limits for elected officials
HF 986 prohibiting law enforcement agencies from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant
HF 999 classifying law enforcement body camera data as private
HF 1047 born alive infants protection act