Neighbors and Friends,
It’s been a busy week at the Capitol. We worked right through Presidents ’ Day and are now poised to have two long nights ahead of us. Committees are also picking up pace with night hearings because our first committee deadline nears early next month. Here are a few of the issues before us:
On Monday, the House of Representatives voted to approve Sunday liquor sales. The measure must also pass the Senate, and if it does, Governor Dayton said he would sign the bill into law. Recent grassroots support from Minnesotans has led the way for Sunday sales after a 159 year ban. The House voted 85 to 45 to pass the measure, with limited hours of operation on Sundays.
We’ll be hearing three bills tomorrow night. HF 3 would bring Minnesota into compliance with the federal Real Id requirements, allowing Minnesotans to board airplanes and enter federal and military facilities. Unfortunately, the bill under consideration has a provision in it that specifically targets immigrants. HF 400 would prohibit Minnesota from contracting with any businesses that are part of the BDS movement (boycott, divest, sanction Israel.) While I stand with Israel, this bill does raise serious constitutional questions about whether or not the state can forbid contracting with those who wish to pressure Israel from continuing to support settlements in Palestine. Middle East peace is obviously a thorny issue and this bill is getting a lot of heat from all sides. We’ll also be hearing HF 434 which would provide much needed funds for BWSR to acquire wetland banking credits to replace wetlands that are drained or filled as a result of local road projects.
Minnesota Care Buy-In
Twenty-five years ago, MinnesotaCare was created by a bipartisan coalition of legislators and signed into law by a Republican governor. The program has allowed 100,000 Minnesotans to purchase high-quality, lower cost health care coverage. Governor Dayton is proposing to expand the program by giving those who purchase their insurance on the individual insurance market the opportunity to ‘buy-into’ MinnesotaCare. Participants in the program would pay their own way.
In addition, MinnesotaCare includes a broad network of care providers and physicians all across the state which would enable families the option of choosing and keeping their own doctors.
For more information on the governor’s proposal, click here.
As we work to increase access to affordable healthcare, this plan is one avenue to provide affordable health care options to thousands of Minnesotans.
A joint convention of the House and Senate will meet on Wednesday night to elect Regents to govern the University of Minnesota. This year, four Regents will be elected, one each from the 2nd, 3rd and 8th Congressional Districts and one at-large to serve six-year terms. The Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC) interviewed 17 candidates. Twelve candidates were forwarded to the Joint Legislative Committee.
Despite the bipartisan, deliberative selection process, Steve Sviggum was put into nomination by multiple GOP members without going through the selection process. I believe our job in choosing candidates to serve on the board should be based on the candidates’ merits, not their political connections.
Meeting with Somali Constituents
I’ll be having my second meeting with Somali constituents this Saturday. It’s my goal to ensure that the next generation of immigrants and refugees can participate in our system and take advantage of the political process. The first meeting was extremely productive and I hope to continue to make sure everyone in our community can be a vital part of it.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
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