It was my pleasure to appear as a guest speaker at this year’s American Legion Minnesota Boys State event hosted by St. John’s University (see below photos). I enjoyed the opportunity to share with them my perspectives as a House member and how my life experiences affect my priorities in the Legislature and life in general. This is a group of thoughtful and brilliant future leaders and I wish them well! Here’s a link to more about the Boys State program.
In other news:
Early Childhood Fellows
The first two meetings for the NCSL Early Childhood Fellows Program to which I was appointed took place this week. There are 29 participants from 17 states. I welcome this opportunity to hope to learn more about quality childcare, support for families, pre-school, etc. The first meeting was introductory, and we also covered brain development, family supports, and the impact of poverty. The second meeting looked at policies and strategies that states are using or exploring, along with a discussion on the success of home-visiting programs. Stay tuned for more on this program as we continue meeting and you also can click here for more about this program.
Special session underway
The Legislature returned to the Capitol this week for a special session to finish work on a new two-year state budget and address other pressing matters.
With a multi-billion-dollar state surplus, it is good to see Minnesotans will be spared from tax increases in the next biennium. Also, businesses and unemployed Minnesotans won’t suffer tax increases on their federally issued Paycheck Protection Program loans or unemployment benefits. It would be a shame for the state to profit off the hardships of businesses and people who have been out of work.
Other priorities this special session should include ending the governor’s emergency powers, stopping health care costs from skyrocketing and improving safety in our cities.
COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates are at record lows and the “emergency” is clearly over. It is time to end the emergency powers and restore the Legislature as the co-equal branch of government that it is. The House minority moved this week for a 20th time to end the emergency powers but that effort was blocked by the majority.
Health care costs
The House majority is pushing to end Minnesota’s nation-leading reinsurance program that has proven successful in lowering health care costs and stabilizing the individual market. Language to extend this program was omitted from the omnibus Commerce and Energy bill (SSHF06). The result of not reauthorizing reinsurance likely would be higher health care costs, reduced health care options, and instability in Minnesota’s individual insurance market.
This is the wrong approach and we need to focus on ways of reducing health care costs and expanding access instead of adding to the burden that already has been overwhelming many people.
The rise in violent crimes in Minnesota – especially in the Twin Cities – also needs to be tackled this special session and I continue working closely on plans to improve our situation.
I personally am working to establish pilot programs across the state for the Community Out Post (COP) House program, which is seeing success in the St. Cloud area by building police-community relations. The COP House is a proven program that has been a game-changer for St. Cloud, bringing law enforcement and the community closer together and reducing crime in the process.
Minnesotans deserve to feel safe and we need to address the rising violent crime in our cities immediately. A package of House Republican proposals provides some answers. This includes calling on Minneapolis to bolster its police force, urging expanded use of ShotSpotter technology to aid in deployment, using federal partnerships aimed at reducing violent crime and expanding use of the Group Violence Intervention program.
Much more needs to be done on this vast subject, but these efforts would get us pointed in the right direction. I will be back with more as the special session unfolds. Until next time, your input always is welcome.