Only a few days remain in the legislative session. Conference committees continue to meet, but as of this writing, we’re still waiting for a deal on financial targets from Governor Walz, Speaker Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka.
This week the Senate did increase their funding in the budget areas of E-12 Education and Public Safety, but at the cost of taking from dedicated funds for health care. At this point, current trends point to a special session if the Senate doesn’t come to the table for a reasonable compromise that benefits Minnesotans.
As we wait for a deal to be struck, I wanted to highlight some of the differences in the House and Senate’s proposals for our Health and Human Services (HHS) budget, and what that would mean for Minnesotans.
Health and Human Services
The DFL House worked hard to make sure our HHS budget expands health care coverage for Minnesotans while also easing the financial burden on families across the state. We're holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, protecting our elders, and overall investing in a healthier Minnesota.
In another example on the Senate’s inability to adequately invest in Minnesotans, their proposed HHS budget cuts MinnesotaCare, jeopardizing the health care coverage for over half a million Minnesotans. People use MinnesotaCare for essential medical treatment, and cutting it is not a solution in any form. In contrast to our proposal in the House of holding the money-makers in health care accountable, the Senate plans to give millions away to insurance companies in the hope that they will simply lower insurance rates. There’s no reason to think that this would work or further the goal of providing Minnesotans with affordable and accessible health care.
Organic Advisory Task Force
My first piece of legislation will be going to the Governor's desk as part of the Agriculture Conference Committee Report approved on the House floor today. The Organic Advisory Task Force was set to expire, and I proposed legislation that will continue this task force for another five years. The Organic Advisory Task Force works well. It advises the Commissioner of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota on this growing segment of the agriculture industry. In a time of crisis in agriculture, organics are a bright spot, and we want to make sure that we are allowing farmers to take full advantage. I was glad to champion this legislation, and I look forward to the task force will be extended when Governor Walz signs the Agriculture Policy bill into law.
Stay In Touch!
As always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (651) 296-0171. I look forward to hearing your questions and comments on the legislative process.