By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 5/11/2018
Hello from the State Capitol,
This week the House spent the majority of its time passing a number of policy bills – most with either strong bipartisan if not unanimous support.
One of the proposals I co-authored is beneficial to those suffering from chronic diseases. The plan makes needed changes to step therapy – a policy requiring a patient to try and fail first on several medications before receiving their doctor-prescribed medication. If the doctor feels a certain prescription is going to work for the patient, this bill would prevent forcing the patient to try other medicines first. To me the plan is common sense and will keep prescription decisions between the doctors and their patients, not insurance companies.
This week the Minnesota Senate unveiled its bonding bill. Unfortunately, none of the items I’ve been lobbying for – HERO Center, SMART Center, and Hastings City Hall – are included. The House bill did include the HERO and SMART Centers, and I continue seeking other funding alternatives for Hastings City Hall.
Lawmakers also received some positive economic news this week. The Minnesota Office of Management and Budget announced that a forecast for the month of April showed incoming revenues greatly exceeded expectations by $252 million. These same folks had speculated earlier that Minnesota would only see a $329 million windfall for the rest of this fiscal year. Increased income tax collections led to the majority of the improved forecast.
Minnesota’s economy is strong and getting stronger, and it’s my belief that tax relief enacted at both the state and federal levels is making a major impact.
This week, Rep. Bob Loonan and I were asked to visit with and welcome Minnesota Commercial Real Estate professionals as part of their day at the Capitol. I was also able to visit with Hastings teachers Betsy Carroll, Christy Warner and Spencer Johnson who were lobbying for additional spending for schools.
I was honored to address folks from 2nd Harvest Heartland in the Capitol rotunda today to talk about hunger in Minnesota. Their bonding request for a new food shelf distribution center is in both the House and Senate bills, and now we need to get it across the finish line.
Cottage Grove Middle School has been awarded the 2018 Emerging Minnesota School of Character by the Synergy & Leadership Exchange. Rep. Keith Franke and I were able to congratulate school officials at the Character Recognition Awards ceremony at the Science Museum this week.
This week I was also pleased to have Mackenzie Swaim from Park High School join us at the Capitol. Mackenzie was serving as a page as part of the Minnesota House High School Page Program, and I hope she enjoyed her time in St. Paul.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, join me at Jessie Diggins Day in Afton! The event will give area residents a chance to celebrate her gold medal-winning performance and share their excitement.
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155