I’m excited to be at work as your new State Representative, District 48A, in the Minnesota House of Representatives. It’s a tremendous honor to represent the people of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie at the State Capitol. I’m committed to approaching this job with a spirit of collaboration and will focus my efforts on solving problems in order to improve the lives of Minnesotans.
Speaking of the State Capitol, the building is now reopen to the public following a multiyear restoration. The results are just stunning. The artwork is vibrant and the attention to detail is breathtaking. There have also been substantial upgrades to the building in the areas of technology, accessibility, and safety. Numerous additional spaces are now open to the public to better accommodate group visits and public testimony. I hope you can see it for yourself soon: information on guided tours can be found here.
This session I was appointed to three House committees: Education Innovation Policy, Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance, and the Veterans Affairs Division. Each of these committees has a strong tradition of bipartisanship. Right now most of our committee time is dedicated to informational presentations from state agencies with broad overviews of operations and budgets. Soon though, we will start diving deep into issues and moving bills through the process.
One critical issue receiving early attention is how to provide premium relief to the approximately 125,000 Minnesotans who purchase health insurance on the individual market. These folks are seeing massive premium hikes in the neighborhood of 60 percent: this is unsustainable and unacceptable. I support a plan to provide immediate premium relief in the form of a 25 percent rebate.
The proposal from the House Majority currently rocketing through the process includes many significant reforms in addition to a proposal for relief. Both the reform and relief seem to have significant drawbacks.
First, Minnesotans faced with massive premium hikes will likely need to wait until 2018 to see relief. Further, the reforms may be worth considering, but I’m concerned that they are being rushed through too quickly without public input and a full vetting of potential consequences. Enrollment deadlines are approaching and I hope we can still take action to alleviate premium hikes.
If you know of anyone else interested in receiving these periodic updates, they can subscribe to them here. I encourage you to stay in touch with me and share your input on issues before the Legislature; please don’t hesitate to write or call anytime. Again, it is an honor to serve my community in the Minnesota House.