Legislative Update Mar 6 2017

A weekly update, compliments of the Public Affairs Office, House Republican Caucus:

  • Draining the Swamp in St Paul – House Republicans passed legislation to increase oversight and accountability of the Minnesota Stadium Financing Authority (MSFA). The bill reforms the governance structure of the MSFA and limits the use of free suites at US Bank Stadium. The bill’s passage follows numerous reports of unethical activity by MSFA members and executive staff.  Former MSFA Chair and Dayton-appointee Michele Kelm-Helgen skipped to the front of the line to buy seat licenses and season tickets for Vikings games in luxury seats. Kelm-Helgen also helped friends and family members secure rights to seats around her own. Owners of seats licenses can sell them and there is potential for those licenses to appreciate in value.

  • Real ID -- In mid-February, the Minnesota House passed, on a bipartisan vote 72-58, the bill to make Minnesota REAL ID compliant. The Senate version of the bill failed in the Senate Monday, with Democrats voting unanimously against the bill because it did not provide driver’s licenses for undocumented workers.  Gov. Mark Dayton told the Pioneer Press that he wants to enable undocumented immigrants to get Minnesota driver’s licenses and he wanted the Legislature’s Real ID bill to help make that happen. Without action on REAL ID this session, Minnesota driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable for boarding planes as soon as January of 2018.

 

  • Minnesota Health Insurance Premium Security Plan -- House Republicans continue work on long-term efforts to lower health insurance costs. A proposal for a state-based reinsurance program was heard in committee March 6. The bill establishes the "Minnesota Premium Security Plan" which would lower the impact high-risk people have on the individual insurance market, working to reduce health insurance rates for Minnesotans in the individual market.

  • Education Reforms -- House Republicans unveiled a bipartisan bill to create a vocational apprenticeship pilot program in Minnesota high schools. The legislation would create Vocational Postsecondary Enrollment Options (VPSEO) courses, allowing students to gain technical, real-world training while earning high school credit.

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