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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jordan Rasmusson (R)

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2021 session passes midway point

Thursday, March 25, 2021


By Rep. Jordan Rasmusson

The pace to start the 2021 session has been historically slow. Through the first 10 weeks of session, the House had passed just five bills, the fewest at that point in session since at least 1995 — as far back as records are available on the House website.

There are numerous time-sensitive issues that should not wait until the end of the session to be addressed and instead should receive priority for approval, including:

  • The SAFE Account — Funding for mutual aid for potential law enforcement response for the Chauvin trial and other major public safety events.
  • Exempting forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan income for businesses from state income taxes.
  • Exempting boosted Unemployment Insurance payments for workers from state income taxes.

The lack of progress on the latter two issues related to taxes is especially perplexing since there seems to be universal support for them. Standalone bills for each subject likely would receive overwhelming approval in the House and there is no need to push them off until end-of-session negotiations when all bets are off. I have voted to bring each of these proposals to the floor for a vote, but House Democrats have blocked these important bills from moving forward.

Reinsurance bill ready for the floor

Legislation I have authored to make numerous forms of insurance cheaper through regulatory reform received unanimous approval in the House Commerce Committee and now is available for approval from the full House.

The bill (H.F. 1915) deals with regulations on reinsurers who help our Minnesota underwriters effectively manage risk. For example, the north metro hailstorm in June 2017 brought with it $3.2 billion in damages; Minnesota property and casualty insurers used reinsurance to help pay claims while protecting their balance sheet. Failure to adopt the language in my bill by Sept. 1, 2022, will result in a federal takeover of Minnesota’s ability to regulate insurance companies, which would have negative consequences for policyholders and insurers.

I am optimistic this legislation will be taken up for a vote on the House floor so we can get this good-government bill closer to enactment. Look for more as this unfolds.

Huebsch named regent

Congratulations to Doug Huebsch, of Perham, who recently was among four people elected to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. A U of M graduate, Mr. Huebsch is a local business leader who recently retired from the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

The 12 volunteer members of the Board of Regents each serve for a six-year term, and I look forward to the leadership Mr. Huebsch will provide representing the 7th Congressional District.

Broadband bill

Legislation I am authoring in the House (H.F. 2194) would provide $120 million in 2022-23 for delivering broadband internet service to unserved/underserved areas of the state – including areas in Otter Tail County. Our region is one of the most expensive areas in the state to install broadband, so grants like those included in my bill are critical to getting more residents broadband access. My bill would represent our state’s largest broadband investment ever. Sen. Westrom of Elbow Lake has authored the Senate companion bill, and I look forward to working with him on this issue.