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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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Legislative Update- February 5, 2021

Friday, February 05, 2021

Rep. Stephenson

 

Dear Neighbors,

Another week is nearly behind us. Our work continues at the Minnesota House and we’ve been focusing on delivering support to families, workers, and businesses across the state.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the legislation and proposals moving through the Legislature:


Small Business Tax Support

A week ago, we passed a bipartisan bill that holds 2021 Unemployment Insurance experience ratings constant. Without this legislation, small businesses would face massive increases in their Unemployment Insurance taxes due to the significant number of layoffs that occurred during the pandemic. Governor Walz signed the bill into law on Friday. Although there’s more work for the legislature to do to help our small businesses, I’m glad we took this necessary and significant step forward to ensure our businesses are held harmless as they prepare for the 2021 tax season.


Transparency in Health Care Costs

Yesterday, our House Commerce Committee, which I chair, advanced legislation that would require most hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and medical practices to make available to the public a list of current standard charges for all items and services provided by the medical practice. The idea is to develop and make available to the public, a tool for anyone to use to compare charges for a specific item or service. This is a thoughtful approach to help drive down costs and promote the transparency in health care pricing Minnesotans deserve.


Adult-Use Cannabis Introduced

On Monday, legislation was introduced that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. The legislation would create a regulated cannabis market while addressing concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety. I am thoughtfully reviewing all components of the measure, and carefully considering the concerns I mentioned above. One area of concern I have currently, is that our medical cannabis program in Minnesota is extremely restrictive in terms of cost for folks who have benefited from it, but can’t continue because it’s too expensive. I also know from my own experience as a prosecutor that the state expends a lot of resources on the current cannabis restrictions. I think those resources could probably be better used on more pressing public safety concerns. I look forward to the robust conversation we’ll have as it moves through the committee process. 


Keep in Touch

I appreciate the time you’ve taken to write or call about the issues important to you. Please continue to reach out anytime at rep.zack.stephenson@house.mn or 651-296-5513.

It’s an honor to serve our Coon Rapids and Champlin families at the Minnesota House.

Sincerely,

Zack Stephenson

State Representative