The first order of business when the 2016 legislative session begins March 8 should be a vote on whether to continue Minnesota's government-run Obamacare website, MNsure. More than three years into development, MNsure remains unable to fulfill its primary mission: providing access to affordable health insurance. It can't even send your applications to an insurer without major problems.
A town hall meeting recently took place in the metro area to discuss whether the state should end its ban on Sunday liquor sales. I endorse the free market, yet my position has nothing – nada, zilch, zippo – to do with liquor itself. My point is this: In the context of our free-market economy, government should not be dictating to businesses what days of the week we can and cannot operate and purchase. (Clarification: Free-market liberty does not apply to the sales of products or services that are illegal. That is a whole different discussion for another day.)
A special session will take place Sept. 9 to appropriate disaster relief funding for rebuilding damaged infrastructure and aiding cleanup efforts after storms hit Minnesota in June. Most of the damage occurred in 18 counties spanning the western, central and southern parts of the state. The damage total is estimated to be $18 million. The state will pay 25 percent and receive a 75-percent match from the federal government.
I began my first term in the Minnesota House determined to advocate for Greater Minnesota. A top concern of mine is how legislative influence tilts strongly toward the Twin Cities. There are 29 House committees, 22 of which are chaired by metro legislators. What is truly baffling is agriculture finance decisions will now be made by a committee with a Minneapolis environmentalist chairperson who has voted against almost all of the ag finance bills the last decade.