It's been another busy week in Saint Paul and we're now over half way done with session. Here's my update from Saint Paul and I hope you have a great St. Patrick's Day!
Bipartisan Health Insurance Reform Passes House
The Minnesota Premium Security Plan (HF5), which establishes a state-based reinsurance program, passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 78-53. This program is designed to stabilize and reduce premiums by mitigating the impact of high-risk individuals, or those who are the most sick, on the individual health insurance market. According to Minnesota Management and Budget, the proposal is estimated to reduce premiums by 17-18 percent.
Cleaning up the mess created by Obamacare and MNSure was one of our top priorities this session and this bill is another significant step towards accomplishing that goal. Under this bill, Minnesotans who need medical care the most will be able to get it while it also is projected to help decrease premiums.
Prior to Obamacare, Minnesota had a health insurance safety net program and it was a model for the nation. Today, Minnesota’s individual insurance market is a third as large and twice as sick as it was before Obamacare.
Making real reform to health care in Minnesota began with us enacting premium relief and opening the market up to more providers with SF1. The Minnesota Premium Security Plan is step two and will help to stabilize the individual market while it also is expected to lower premiums by as much as 18 percent. The next step is to bring further reforms to put downward pressure on health care costs.
Teacher Retention Reform
Schools should have the ability to keep the best teachers in the classroom and the current “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) system arbitrarily puts new teachers at the top of the list when lay-offs must occur, regardless if they are excelling in the classroom.
This week we passed legislation in the House this week removes the default in state law which will allow school districts and bargaining units to explore alternative options that may better serve teachers, students, and families.
Every child deserves a great education and high-quality teachers are a huge part of that. This legislation will ensure local school districts and educators are able to negotiate agreements that can take into account all the important factors that impact student success. Local districts will be empowered to include these factors when making difficult staff retention decisions.
Sex Crime Sentencing Reform Bill
My bill to close loopholes that allows sex offenders to face light sentences without further monitoring and to increase the sentences for possession of child pornography continues to receive support. We made a video about it that can be viewed here.
Nurses Support HF 1481
The Minnesota Nurses Association Board of Directors came by the Capitol this week to voice their support of my bill to increase the penalty for physically assaulting nurses or other personnel. A picture from their visit is included below and you can watch my video on the bill here.
Office Hours last Saturday in Bagley
Last Saturday about 30 people came out to chat at the Great Northern Bar & Grill. It was great to talk to so many of you. Keep an eye out here for future events throughout the district.
Have a great weekend,