Negotiations are set to begin between the House Democrat majority and Senate Republican majority now that the first round of omnibus finance bills have been approved by both legislative bodies. I voted “no” on each of the Democrats’ omnibus bills because they focused more on partisan and divisive issues instead of policies that can unite us.
The final bill that was approved on Monday was the Health and Human Services (HHS) bill. HHS spending constitutes the largest share of the state’s budget.
This legislation was 970 pages in length and spent more than $650 million above current funding levels over the next four years and dramatically expands the size and reach of state government.
Some of the top-line issues with the bill included:
- Creates new mandates for insurers and drug companies which will increase the cost of care.
- More mandates and limitations for hospitals which will negatively impact hospitals’ ability to care for and support patients.
- Expands government run healthcare by putting government bureaucrats in charge of drug, dental, and nonemergency medical transport coverage for all public program enrollees.
- Dramatically changes welfare programs by providing less oversight and reporting requirements for those on public programs.
I also had concerns that the bill did nothing to address the Governor’s emergency powers. Reminder—I have voted to end the emergency powers numerous times and will continue to do so as it’s clear that the COVID-19 “emergency” is over.
As we head into conference committee, I am hopeful that the bills will return much improved following negotiations with Senate Republicans and that I will be able to support them on final passage in May.
I now expect standalone bills that are priorities for the DFL majority to come to the House floor in the next few weeks as we wait for agreements to be made on the budget.
Please keep an eye on your email inbox as I will continue to do my best to keep you updated on what’s happening in St. Paul.
Staying in Touch
Please be sure to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson.
Have a good day,