Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since August 3, 2010. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele- town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school — but no traditional town hall.
2017 Legislative Session
Poll: No raises for lawmakers this year, Mankato Free Press
It’s back. Minnesota Senate has a plan to revive Real ID, Pioneer Press
2018 politics creep into legislative session, Star Tribune
Capitol Chatter: A legislative budget primer, Duluth News Tribune
State Fair Doughnut fry leads to political fray, West Central Tribune
House GOP transportation funding plan moving ahead over DFL objections, MNN
Budget bills on fast track at State Capitol, MPR
Minnesota Republicans seek to cut early education program, Star Tribune
House proposal would cut early childhood education program, MinnPost
Higher education bills call for Minnesota State tuition freezes, Duluth News Tribune
GOP Wants to Eliminate Governor’s Signature Program, KNSI
Gov. Dayton allows MN Farmers to bring aid to states impacted by wildfires, MN Farm Guide
Agriculture funding bills prioritize new Minnesota crops, Duluth News Tribune
One State Fair mini-doughnut booth is run by Democrats. Republican bill would clamp down on it., Pioneer Press
GOP takes aim at $2 billion train line, St. Cloud Times
Define ‘success’ before Northstar test, St. Cloud Times
Our View: Transportation: As roads deteriorate, Legislature must fix funding, Mankato Free Press
Tax hike? Tax rebate? How much infrastructure? What about health care? $1 billion worth of questions from MN budget, Pioneer Press (more…)
The following article by Annie Linskey was posted on the Boston Globe website March 25, 2017:
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump famously said that if he became president he would win so much, Americans would get tired of winning. But so far he’s mostly losing, bigly.
Even with a wide Republican majority in the House, the president failed to deliver on the centerpiece of his legislative agenda — repealing the Affordable Care Act — raising loud questions about the effectiveness of his young presidency and whether Republicans are capable of making the transition from an opposition party to one that governs.
“It’s a catastrophic legislative failure,” said Rick Tyler, a Republican strategist who didn’t support Trump during the election. “It’s the equivalent of having a cardiac arrest. You can recover from it, but it will take a lot of rehab.” (more…)
AHCA was a bill presented in the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the AHCA and determined that under the AHCA:
- 24 million would lose their health insurance;
- $880 billion dollars would be cut from Medicaid;
- Insurers would be allowed to charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones;
- Social Security expenditures would decrease by $3 billion due to earlier mortality;
- Taxes on the top 5% of income-earners would be reduced.
A revised version of the bill was offered, which attempted to woo votes from the Freedom Caucus Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. The revised version stripped away essential health benefits in insurance policies, so that insurance companies could sell “insurance” that did not cover hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drug benefits, etc. The revised bill was pulled without a vote after House Speaker Paul Ryan determined that it did not have enough votes to pass.
Paulsen’s position: Paulsen supported the bill to the end. He spoke on the House floor in support of the bill minutes before the bill was pulled with no vote.
Paulsen is now on record for ardently supporting the failed AHCA which would have taken health insurance away from millions of Americans.
Week 12 of the legislative session saw the press, Senators and the public pouring over the numbers released by Governor Dayton’s budget and both legislative bodies committee targets that they released late last week. I am disappointed by the targets set by the legislative bodies that speak to the priorities of the majorities in the House and Senate.
Despite hearing very costly bills in most committees throughout session, the Senate’s budget priorities lie with tax cuts for wealthy corporations, slim investments in education and transportation, and major cuts to other areas, particularly health and human services which will affect the most elderly and vulnerable in our state. They also cut the equity investments passed just last year, which was $38 million to address the employment gaps and support opporunities for our most under represented communities that are at risk. (more…)
Republican Transportation Bill: The Wrong Direction
Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate have introduced plans to fund safe roads and bridges by “redirecting” current spending. That will send Minnesota in the wrong direction.
Without raising the gas tax or finding other sources of long-term, stable funding, as proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL legislators, Republicans will be redirecting money from schools, seniors and other state programs aimed at creating opportunities for all. (more…)
Evaluating the GOP Transportation Budget
Senate Republicans released their budget targets a week ago – which means everyone from the press to DFL senators and the public took time to pour over the numbers throughout the week.
The most startling observation comes from the transport budget, where a provision was included that barred any locality from funding a light rail project without legislative approval. The budget also completely removes any state investment in ongoing LRT costs. These provisons would effectively kill all light rail routes for as long as the GOP controls a single chamber in the legislature. Even if we could begin construction on Southwest LRT before enactment, localities could spend their own money on staffing and maintenance even if they could afford it. (more…)
With policy deadlines past, we have now entered the part of the session that focuses primarily on building a budget that reflects the needs and values of Minnesota families. From this point forward, we will need to negotiate with Republicans in order to invest in education, health care, and working families.
As you may have noticed, I’ve also decided to change up the format of my legislative updates. Who says emails from legislators have to be boring? (more…)
Rep. Debra Hilstrom (40B) – Legislative Update
The Star Tribune published a commentary I authored with Sen. Chris Eaton, Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Dave Baker on the bipartisan efforts to address the opioid epidemic. Our bills, referred to as the Opioid Reform Act, will specifically address the over prescription of pain medication in Minnesota.
Attorney General Lori Swanson and Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo have done tremendous work to provide resources to schools, health care professionals, and others in our local communities to combat this problem. They have started a program called “Dose of Reality,” and I encourage you to visit their website. (more…)
CAPITOL UPDATE MARCH 24, 2017
This past week, a Star Tribune article titled “Student loan defaults soar as millions miss payments” highlighted that over 14% of young people have fallen behind on student loan payments this past year. Two bills, SF 156 and SF 165, being considered in the Senate right now, would go a long way in mitigating a future student debt crisis.
One bill I authored, the Minnesota College Affordability Act (SF 156), would enable all of Minnesota high school graduates to attend 2- and 4-year public colleges, universities, and technical schools by providing tuition-free education for families earning under $125,000. This bold plan ignites a much needed discussion about our society’s commitment to higher education. Our state will fall behind if we do not seek to better educate and equip our learners for 21st century careers. The College Affordability Act grants apply after all existing state and federal grants and requires students to maintain a 2.5 GPA in college. (more…)