ST. PAUL – While legislators did not pass a new state budget before their May 17 adjournment deadline, Rep. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, played a key role in delivering two other packages to the governor for enactment.
Without budget bills in final form to take up for votes, both bodies turned their attention to approving a handful of policy packages before adjourning. Rasmusson served on two of the conference committees that successfully reached compromises, first for the Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act and then for a multi-state compact related to mental health. Both passed with broad, bipartisan support in the House and the Senate.
Rasmusson said the ECO Act (H.F. 164) aims to provide co-ops and utilities more flexibility to meet their annual energy savings goals.
“My goal with this conference committee was to keep energy costs down for Minnesota families and businesses,” Rasmusson said. “The final bill benefits the environment, reduces consumers’ total energy bill, and creates local jobs.”
Rasmusson said the bill was broadly supported by utilities, business groups, labor unions and environmental organizations throughout Minnesota.
“We were pleased to see Representative Rasmusson named to the conference committee for the ECO Act,” Otter Tail Power President Tim Rogelstad said. “This was an important assignment for any legislator, much less a first-term member. Representative Rasmusson played a part in making the biggest changes to the energy conservation statutes since 2007.”
Lake Region Electric Co-op also supported this bill.
“We appreciate Rep. Rasmusson’s willingness to meet with us regarding the ECO Act and other legislative topics,”said LREC CEO Tim Thompson. “The ECO Act modernizes the Conservation Improvement Program, which in turn allows LREC to better serve our members with emerging load control technologies and the inclusion of load management programs.”
Rasmusson also played a vital role on a bill (S.F. 193) allowing reciprocity for licensed psychologists in Minnesota to practice in other PSYPACT states and vice-versa. Rasmusson said 20 other states are currently in the compact, with seven more in the process of getting on board.
“Mental health is a major priority of mine in the Legislature, and I am pleased to have helped this bill receive approval,” Rasmusson said. “We know that there are not enough mental health professionals in Minnesota to cover the needs of mental health patients, and this legislation will help alleviate some of that need. In addition, this bill will help expand telehealth mental health services in Greater Minnesota.”
Minnesota Psychological Association Legislative Committee Chair Dr. Trisha Stark, L.P., thanked Rasmusson for his efforts.
“We would like to thank Rep. Jordan Rasmusson for his bi-partisan work on the interjurisdictional psychology practice compact legislation,” Stark said. “Rep. Rasmusson played a key role in getting this needed legislation passed unanimously by the Minnesota House. This new law will help meet the current high demand for mental health services of Minnesotans.”