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2017 state legislative session is off and running

To The Editor,
The 2017 legislative session began Jan. 3. I am looking forward to being chair of the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee and having a hand in crafting policy for our state’s transportation infrastructure. I also will serve on the Capital Investment Committee, the Finance Committee, the Rules and Administration Committee, and the State Government Finance and Policy Committee.
I am happy to support Senate File 1, the Republican-introduced Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act, which is legislation aimed at providing relief and reform to those who have been stung by Obamacare’s outrageous premium increases. The bill works by providing immediate premium relief, stabilizing the individual insurance market, and paving the way for more significant reform down the road. Key components include:
• $285 million in premium relief for Minnesotans who buy health insurance through the individual market;
• $15 million to cover the costs associated with continuing care;
• Allowing for-profit HMOs to enter the individual market, expanding coverage options; and
• Eliminating surprise billing and adding federal law conformity allowing small businesses to offer a direct contribution toward employee health insurance premiums, among others.
I expect the Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Act to be acted on quickly, and will keep you updated as the legislation progresses. We promised you that the Republican-led Senate will act as quickly as possible to bring health care cost relief. Senate File 1 is the beginning of fulfilling that promise.
This session also brings a myriad of other key issues to the forefront as we prepare the state government’s budget for the next two years. My Senate Republican colleagues and I are putting together a budget that finds ways to ensure your tax dollars are spent responsibly. With a $1.4 billion budget surplus, we are looking at ways to provide relief to the hardworking Minnesotans at the heart of our economy. Our proposals will continue to be released over the coming days and weeks; I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Finally, please note that my office has moved to the Minnesota Senate Building, room 3105. Part of my job as your state senator is assisting constituents with items such as issues with state agencies, questions on legislation, and planning visits to the State Capitol. Please reach out to my Committee Legislative Assistant, Evan Nelson; he can be reached at 651-296-5246. I cannot serve the people of Senate District 18 without hearing from you, so please be in touch often.
Scott Newman
State Senator