The legislative session is off to a fast start this year, with the opening day ceremony taking place last Tuesday, and our first bills being brought to the House floor just two days later.
At the opening floor ceremony, I served as Chief Clerk Pro Tempore, which entailed taking the roll for attendance and votes, and directing House proceedings until Chief Clerk Patrick Murphy was officially elected to his position.
Chief Justice Lorie Gildea administered the oath of office to me and my fellow representatives, and Representative Kurt Daudt was elected Speaker of the House once again. I am confident in Speaker Daudt’s abilities, and look forward to another two years of his dedicated leadership in our caucus.
On Thursday, two house files were brought to the floor for a vote. The first brought Minnesota’s tax code into line with federal regulations, which passed the House unanimously. This bill will provide $21.7 million in tax relief to people filing their taxes in Minnesota this year, and I am pleased this measure passed without difficulty. The Senate has indicated that they will also pass this measure promptly in order for the new tax code to be applied to this year’s tax filings. All things indicated that Governor Dayton will sign this bill without reservation once it is on his desk.
The second bill brought to the floor by House Republicans was a bill that would address the MNsure crisis. This bill, HF1, included provisions that provided immediate relief in the form of premium reductions and measures for continuity of care, in addition to reforms that would form the basis for long-term change. I’m disappointed that House Democrats went back on our agreement to pass this measure without delay, but instead presented Governor Dayton’s woefully inadequate proposal that would have simply written a check for one-time premium relief, and provided nothing to ensure continuity of care or move toward a long-term solution.
I will continue to work on this issue with my fellow legislators, and hope to come to an agreement soon regarding the pressing issue of MNsure.
Please contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have moving forward with session; I look forward to hearing from you.