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Legislative Updates & Recaps

Throughout the legislative session, MCLA staff work to inform the community on upcoming, pending, or impactful legislation as it relates to four policy areas: economic development, education, health, and immigration. We also outline our support or opposition on specific bills in these areas.

2017-2018 Legislative Summary (Health)

5/29/2018 9:56:43 AM

2017-2018 BIENNIUM
Legislative Agenda: The Council supports legislation that promotes the health and wellbeing of Minnesota Latinos by looking at the intersection of many social determinants which includes increasing access to health insurance and affordable care, along with expanding culturally and linguistically competent health care services with optimal quality. The session adjourned Sine Die around 11:56 pm Sunday night, May 20, 2018. The 2019 Legislative Session starts on January 8.

2017-2018 advocacy work
SF1708/HF2023: The Council advocated in favor of a medical interpreters registry bill that would replace the current roster with a new registry system that would implement two categories (Registration and Certification) for statewide standards in quality interpreting services for Limited English Patients. The bill had two hearings during this biennium, one in each chamber.
H.F. 2724: The Council supported prohibiting school lunch providers from shaming students for having an outstanding meals balance. Public shaming could have negative effects on childhood behavior immediately and as they age, with effects in their school performance. Bill was not included in any omnibus.
The Council worked in partnership with other state agencies and stakeholders (DHS, MNsure, MDH, among others) to raise awareness around health equity and reducing disparities in diverse communities by embedding racial equity principles in government operations and policy, from inception to implementation. 
2018 Session
The Council tracked legislation with the potential to have significant impacts in Latino and diverse communities:
Creation of a public option for health care coverage
The expansion of the state’s Minnesota Care program, to create a public option that would offer health insurance for any Minnesotan struggling to find and afford health care coverage did not have any hearing. OUTCOME: The bill did not have a hearing.

$16 million program to tackle treatment and prevention will come out of the state general fund. This is contained in the called Mega Omnibus bill (#OmnibusPrime) referring to the supplemental budget bill. 
OUTCOME: Governor vetoed the Omnibus Bill. 

Minimum wage
Republicans introduced bills to create a tip credit in the state minimum wage. The bills didn’t pass, but the same language was introduced in the supplemental budget.
OUTCOME: bills fell out of supplemental budget. 

Gun safety
Two bills were subject to pressure by Governor Dayton, legislators, and activists. One would install universal background checks on all gun purchases. Another would create a system to “red flag” and block gun purchases by those who are considered a danger to themselves or others. 
OUTCOME: Neither bill cleared the House or Senate. 

The legislature authorized $1.5 billion in public construction projects, with more money for roads and bridges and less for higher education and asset preservation. 
MAIN OUTCOMES: The final bill adopted has zero dollars for bus rapid transit. It also contains significant money for affordable housing — $50 million for new projects, $30 million for projects aimed at helping those with behavioral health needs and $10 million to rehab existing public housing. Legislators also moved to stabilize public pension funds. The Governor has indicated he will sign it.

Hands-free cell phones
Cellphone companies and relatives of those killed by distracted drivers wanted Minnesota to join 16 other states in requiring the use of hands-free devices when drivers are making calls. 
OUTCOME: The bills never came up for a vote.  

The Good Food Access program 
It increases the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low and moderate income areas.
OUTCOME: Governor vetoed the Supplemental Budget Omnibus Bill.
The Minnesota Health Policy Commission
The duties of the committee is to compare Minnesota’s private market health care costs and public health care program spending to that of the other states. 
OUTCOME: Governor vetoed the Supplemental Budget Omnibus Bill.

Other bills passed and already signed into law

SF3367: This bill requires sex trafficking prevention training for employees of hotels and motels.

HF 3265: This bill modifies the governance provisions of the Minnesota assessment of parenting for children and youth and child foster care, and establishes the foster care sibling bill of rights.

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