We are already one month into the 2017 legislative session, and I’d like to give you an update from St. Paul. Yesterday, I was able to meet with a pair of students who work at The Perch, a student-run credit union at Eden Prairie High School. This terrific program – run in partnership with Royal Credit Union – encourages students to save money and provides them a hands-on financial education and money management skills. It was great to hear about this unique approach, and I hope this can expand to other schools.
As you may know, last week the Legislature passed and Gov. Dayton signed into law a bill providing immediate premium relief to those who purchase health insurance on the individual market. Because of this, MNsure is extending their open enrollment period by one week until Wednesday, February 8. Under the bill passed last week, Minnesotans who aren’t eligible for tax credits under MNsure will see an instant 25 percent premium discount. It is open to all Minnesotans, however you must enroll through the MNsure portal or directly through Blue Plus or HealthPartners.
For more information or to apply, visit MNsure online here. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with this process.
MADE IN MINNESOTA SOLAR
Applications for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program will be accepted through February 28. This program, in its fourth year, helps homeowners, businesses, and communities fund new solar electric and solar thermal systems. So far, it has helped fund over 1,000 solar projects in the state. Over the next decade, the Department of Commerce (responsible for administering the program) expects as many as 4,000 solar installations to be funded by this program. This would equal a 65 megawatt increase of about four times the total capacity at the program’s inception.
Minnesotans who install made in Minnesota solar equipment are eligible to apply. More information is available at the Made in Minnesota section of the Commerce Department website. You can also contact the Commerce Department Energy Information Center directly by email at email@example.com or phone at 651-539-1886 with questions.
U OF M BOARD OF REGENTS
One of the responsibilities of the Legislature this year is to elect members to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. Because the U of M is our state “land grant” university, the institution carries what’s referred to as “constitutional autonomy,” which makes this election so important. Four seats each carrying six year terms are up for election: one seat in each of the second, third and eighth congressional districts and one statewide at-large position.
Candidates are recruited, screened, and recommended by the Regent Candidate Advisory Council, which is made up of legislators and citizens. They can recommend multiple candidates, who are then considered by a joint meeting of the House and Senate Higher Education committees. This meeting will take place next Tuesday, and as a member of the House Higher Ed. Committee, I’ll be participating. The joint committee will make a recommendation to a joint convention of all members of the House and the Senate, which finally elects the Regents.
For my part, I’m looking to recommend candidates who are firmly committed to the mission and goals of the U of M while keeping in mind how important a role the university plays in our state’s overall success.
Please continue to reach out with your comments, ideas, and questions about any issues which are important to you. It’s an honor to be your voice at the State Capitol.