This week the focus was on committee hearings, including moving several important bills through the Veterans Committee. I also accepted an appoint to the Aggregate Resources Task Force and was reappointed for another term on the Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission.
This week we were busy in the Veterans Committee. We heard a bill that clamps down on unscrupulous lenders that prey upon elderly military retirees or their widows by getting them to sign over their military retirement benefits as part of a loan agreement.
A recent example was a loan for $2,100 that the lender managed to collect over $10,000 in repayment from an elderly widow. A federal law exists prohibiting this type of conduct but it is rarely enforced. The state attorney general’s office requested specific direction to allow them to investigation and prosecution this kind of predatory behavior under state law.
We gladly obliged, referring the bill to the Committee on Commerce and Regulatory Reform with a strong recommendation that it move quickly forward for final passage.
On a much happier note we moved forward a bill to update Camp Legionville’s aging dining facility. We sent that bill forward to the Legacy Finance Committee for possible inclusion in a larger funding bill.
For those not familiar with Legionville, it’s operated by the Minnesota American Legion as an educational center. It is located near Brainerd on the south end of North Long Lake. It’s an overnight facility with programs for youth, veterans, and the public. Its core mission is as a training center for school and school bus patrols in cooperation with the Safety Education Officers of the Minnesota State Patrol.
This week I also joined a number of legislators in co-authoring a bill for a final fix to the issue of liens being placed on the estates of citizens who accepted government assistance for health insurance in order to meet the Affordable Care Act federal mandate to carry health insurance.
We fixed that once last session but, because of federal red tape, we are back rewording a portion of original legislation to put this issue to bed once and for all. This is another step in cleaning up the many unintended consequences of MNsure and the Affordable Care Act.
Please have a safe and pleasant weekend.