The first month of session is in the history books! We got right to work and passed important legislation to help Minnesotans, such as federal tax conformity that will save you money on your taxes and premium relief for the individuals, families and small businesses who purchase their insurance on the individual market. While we generally had a bipartisan agreement on the need to pass those bills right away, there’s been a lot of partisan posturing that we’re sure to see in the coming months. With that said, I’m committed to crafting a two year budget that ensures Minnesotans are given the opportunity they deserve to get ahead, and not to focus on the policies that divide us.
Here are a few news items from this week:
As a result of the premium relief bill signed into law last week, MNsure has announced an additional week special enrollment period. The extra week will give Minnesotans more time to purchase health insurance during open enrollment. The premium relief legislation will provide a 25% instant rebate to those purchasing health insurance on the individual market who don’t already qualify for MNSure tax credits.
The new deadline is Wednesday, February 8th. For more information, go to the MNsure web page.
On Tuesday, the House Civil Law Committee passed a bill that would make the public responsible for any costs while participating in protests or rallies. The bill would allow units of government to re-claim public safety costs by suing protestors convicted under unlawful assembly or public nuisance laws. This legislation sets a dangerous precedent for Minnesotans wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights. Our constitution is in place to protect our rights and allow people to express their opinions in a peaceful way. I am concerned about the safety of law enforcement (and support providing appropriate force and resources for enforcement) and will never condone property damage as part of protected demonstrations. There is a tradition of tools for law enforcement to use and I support the use of those tools, before, during, and after a demonstration.
The bill’s next stop is the House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee. There is no companion bill in the Senate.
Preemption in Committee Thursday
On Thursday the House Jobs Committee will be hearing a “preemption” bill that would stop local communities from setting their own policies for workers. This Republican bill would stop communities from implementing pro-worker policies such as sick leave, family leave, or a higher minimum wage. This legislation will even roll back sick time for hundreds of thousands of people working in the Twin Cities. This is exactly the type of divisive, anti-worker legislation we’ve seen around the country. Minnesotans know they deserve a fair shake and this isn’t it. I came to the Capitol to help people get ahead, not to make it even harder for them to get by, and that’s why I’m opposing this bill. The most troubling element is the continuing efforts to overreach with legislation this year.
On Thursday you can watch the 5:00 p.m. committee meeting here.
Forward this to your Friends and Neighbors
Don’t forget to forward this update to your friends and neighbors so they can keep up with what’s going on at the Capitol. There’s a lot going on here and if people don’t know about it, they won’t be able to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. People can sign-up for my weekly e-updates here.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have.
Rep. Duane Sauke