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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, February 15, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Tuesday, Governor Walz announced plans to proceed with efforts to challenge the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline and legally force reconsideration of the unanimous decision by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to grant the certificate of need for the pipeline.

The previous governor and his administration seemingly pursued every legal avenue possible in attempting to derail plans to replace Line 3. Unfortunately, it appears that Governor Walz and his staff are choosing to go down the same path.

I am extremely disappointed with Governor Walz’s decision as he is clearly putting the demands of a small group of left-wing environmentalists ahead of the needs of thousands of residents living in northern Minnesota. I urge him to drop the legal challenges and allow this project to move forward.

Social Security Tax Relief

On Thursday, the House Taxes Committee heard a series of bills that would reduce social security taxes here in Minnesota. I have long been a supporter of reducing social security taxes as it is fundamentally unfair that seniors have to pay taxes on this income twice.

With a $1.5 billion budget surplus, Minnesotans deserve to see meaningful tax relief and I hope that Democrats drop plans to raise taxes and spending and instead deliver tax relief.

MNLARS

On Thursday, the non-partisan Legislative Auditor released a report detailing the failures of the MNLARS buildup and rollout that has caused so many issues the last several years. You can read the report here.

Minnesotans deserve a licensing system that works. I am hopeful that we can get this issue sorted out this session, but I am insistent on seeing detailed plans before I support additional funding to save this program.

Further, any plan to fund this disastrous boondoggle should include relief for our deputy registrars who have suffered tremendous financial losses due to MNLARS’ failure.

Reinsurance

Last year and during the campaign season, DFLers spent a great amount of time criticizing our plan last year that helped save the individual health care market and held down rates.

This week, Democrats reversed course and heard a bill in committee that would extend reinsurance for the next three years. While I am pleased that they are moving forward with this legislation as it is needed to help hold down rates that have skyrocketed thanks to the effects of Obamacare, it is certainly frustrating to see such an epic flip-flop unfold in real-time.

First Amendment Concerns Raised with Proposed Legislation

On Wednesday, the House Human Services Policy Committee heard a bill that would ban mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy; a type of therapy that individuals questioning their sexual orientation sometimes seek.

The committee heard testimony that was at times troubling and heartbreaking and I believe that mental health providers that have abused or assaulted patients should be held criminally liable for what they have done.

However, I have concerns that the scope of the bill is too broad and will have far-reaching implications that may violate the First Amendment. The bill will likely receive a few more committee hearings and I hope that concerns folks have with the bill, myself included, can be addressed in some way.

Staying in Touch

That’s all for this week’s update. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Sondra

 

 

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