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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update (Oct. 6, 2015)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

This week the Department of Commerce announced that insurance premiums will rise next year for individuals who purchased plans through MNsure, however, those receiving insurance through their employers will not be effected by the increases.

The hikes are dramatic, with increases ranging from 14% to 49%. The highest average increases will be for individuals who hold policies from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with average increases of 49%. This is especially concerning due to the fact that Blue Cross and Blue Shield represent 43% of MNsure’s market. These rate increases follow double and triple digit increase for some, the past two years.

Simply put, these increases are unaffordable and unacceptable for Minnesota families who are already paying massive rates for insurance.

There are many factors that play a role in the Department of Commerce’s decision to raise rates so dramatically; however the main culprit is crushing regulations and poor policies from Obamacare.

In an effort to assist Minnesotans who continue to be harmed by the failed policies of Obamacare, the House passed legislation this session that works to bring relief to Minnesota families by establishing more oversight for MNsure, bringing greater transparency in insurance prices, and creating a waiver that would give Minnesotans more affordable health care options.

It is my hope that Democrats will join with Republicans as we continue to look for ways to increase options for Minnesota families who are hurting under Obamacare.

Mille Lacs Advisory Group

The DNR has appointed 17 Minnesotans to the newly formed Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee. This committee will give input to the DNR on fisheries management programs and other issues related to Mille Lacs Lake.

DNR Commissioner, Tom Landwehr appointed members who represent a wide array of angling interests, local business and tourism interests, tribal and academic representation, and local county officials.

The members of the advisory group are as follows (those with an asterisk live in Mille Lacs County):

Angling Representatives


  • Mark Utne, Isle*


  • Cheryl Larson, Wahkon*


  • Tony Roach, Willow River


  • Tom Neustrom, Grand Rapids


  • Steven Besser, Litchfield


  • Peter Perovich, Ramsey

Business Representatives


  • Tina Chapman, Chapman’s Mille Lacs Resort and Guide Service*


  • Eddy Lyback, Lyback’s Ice Fishing and Lyback’s Marine*


  • Steve Kulifaj, The Red Door Resort


  • Steven Johnson, Johnson’s Portside*


  • William Eno, Twin Pines Resort and launch service


  • Dean Hanson, Agate Bay Resort and launch service

Local Officials


  • David Oslin, Mille Lacs County Commissioner*


  • Laurie Westerlund, Aitkin County Commissioner


  • Paul Koering, Crow Wing County Commissioner

Mille Lacs Band Representative


  • Jamie Edwards, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Academic Representative


  • Dr. Paul Venturelli, Fisheries Program, University of Minnesota

I will keep you updated on meeting dates and agendas as the group begins its work. For additional information, please visit this website:

Lawmakers Challenge EPA

I was one of 44 members of the House of Representatives who recently signed a letter asking Attorney General Lori Swanson and Governor Dayton to challenge the EPA in federal court over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

The plan, which mandates that the state reduce utility carbon emissions by over 40 percent by 2030, greatly expands the scope of federal authority and will impact the availability of affordable energy for families, businesses and communities across the state. Additionally, the implementation of this new rule could lead to closures of coal-fired power plants, further increasing energy costs and creating substantial job loss.

Minnesotans share the same goal of wanting to see our environment and natural resources preserved for future generations, however, the president’s plan would cause serious hardship for Minnesotans. That’s why I oppose this plan and am calling on the Attorney General and Governor to fight this in federal court.

More than Names Flag

WCCO has partnered with the Minnesotans Military Appreciation Fund to give Minnesota troops, veterans, and their families a massive thank you for their service to our nation.

The More Than Names campaign is trying to break the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a flag. Each signature is a symbol of gratitude and support to our local service men, women and their families.

I recently signed the flag and you can as well by visiting this link:

Thank you to all of our veterans, active servicemen and women, and their families for your sacrifice in defending our nation!

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about issues that are important to you. Please contact my office via email at or by phone at 651-296-6746 to discuss your ideas for how we can make Minnesota a great place to live, work, and raise a family.