Please accept my best wishes as we turn our attention to the celebration of Easter.
The big news from this week in the House is that today we passed legislation to extend unemployment insurance for the Iron Range by 26 weeks.
Here is a statement I sent to the media following passage of today's legislation:
"I'm pleased we finally came to resolution on the 26-week extension for out-of-work Iron Range workers and also passed reform with our overfunded unemployment insurance trust fund. This took longer to pass than it should have, but it required some time to reach a compromise with our friends from the Twin Cities metro area that didn't want to express support for the mining industry."
In other news, MNsure is back in the headlines. I have joined several other legislators in addressing two new unintended consequences that have surfaced with MNSure.
MNSure has failed to issue Form 1095-A in a timely manner. The form is required as proof of health insurance under federal law. Without it taxpayers are subject to a hefty federal fine for not carrying health insurance. Both we and the governor are working to get this resolved before the federal tax filing deadline next month.
We are also working on dealing with the issue of liens being placed on the estates of citizens that elected to accept government assistance for health insurance in order to meet the requirement federal mandate to carry health insurance. A number of citizens in our area were shocked to learn after accepting assistance that their estate now has a lien attached to it.
The lien against their estate that can’t be paid off until their estate is settled – after their death. This was not the intention of the MNSure which administers Minnesota’s version of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Legislation was introduced this week to resolve this situation without creating any further damage to a health care insurance system that most agree needed work, but did not need to be thrown into the level of turmoil that many of our citizens continue to experience today.
I am also working with fellow legislators on providing aid to businesses in the Mille Lacs Lake area. The DNR’s recent announcement of catch and release only for the 2016 summer fishing season, along with restrictions on the use of live bait presents a huge challenge in attracting vacation-goers to Mille Lacs this summer.
Your feedback is always welcome. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to participate in a legislative survey I am conducting. It is available online by clicking here.
Again my best wishes as we pause to celebrate Easter and our risen Lord.