Monday, January 26, 2009

Week of January 18, 2009

Lots of info stacking up! I will add some other issues soon!

Schedule: On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of the Taxes Committee where we had a discussion about "maintenance of effort" legislation. In the afternoon, I went to a meeting of members on the Health Care and Human Services (HCHS) Policy Committee about federal and state health care programs, followed by a meeting of DFLers on the committee and then a meeting of the full committee where the Department of Human Services discussed their outcome measures and priority areas. Late in the day I had a meeting of the Environment & Natural Resources Policy Committee, where we received a program overview from the Board of Water and Soil Resources. On Wednesday, I participated in a caucus meeting for the Taxes Committee, a full meeting of the Taxes Committee where we voted on "maintenance of effort" legislation. In the afternoon, the HCHS Committee met and we heard about county-based purchasing for health care. Many rural counties are providers of health insurance because private providers don't operate there. On Thursday morning, I attended a meeting of Schools for Equity in Education (Centennial School District is a member) and a floor session where Rep. Eastlund asked for an "urgency" to skip the first and second readings of his bill and vote to repeal the Green Acres law changes from last year. (I would like to have hearings on this legislation rather than vote in a knee-jerk fashion.) In the afternoon, the HCHS committee heard speakers on nutritional labeling as a means to combat obesity. Listing calories on fast food menus in places like New York City does lead people to make better choices but there aren't any studies showing that actually leads to lower obesity rates.

Visitors: lobbyists from Health Partners about state and federal budget impacts on health care and on Regions Hospital; lobbyists for Medical Transportation Management about non-emergency medical transportation; Sierra Club staff about their legislative agenda; two staffers from Congresswoman's Bachmann's office about how they can help constituents with federal issues; lobbyist for day training & habilitation providers for adults with developmental disabilities; staff and clients of MN Federation of the Blind; lobbyist and volunteer from Friends of the Boundary Waters about sulfide mining in northern Minnesota; lobbyist and staff from Apple Tree Dental, a nonprofit that provides critical access dental services in the state; lobbyist for Clean Water Action about legislative agenda; lobbyist and staff from MN Dental Association about advanced dental practitioners; co-chairs for the MN chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program promoting single-payer health care; representatives of Fair Vote MN promoting instant runoff voting; lobbyist from Yellow Pages Association about my phone book opt-out bill; staff from Audubon MN about their legislative agenda; staff from Environment MN about their legislative agenda; lobbyist for Flint Hills Resources about low-carbon fuel standard

Constituent contacts: Shoreview resident supporting House Republican proposal to limit welfare benefits for those who come from out of state; Shoreview resident asking that education be the top priority for 2009; two Shoreview residents supporting legislative agenda of the MN Association of Public Employees; Shoreview resident with an idea for the U of MN to participate in the economic recovery; Lexington resident asking that I adopt the political approach of Ron Paul (and a few other choice words); Lino Lakes resident asking me to co-author HF45 requiring higher penalties for aggressive and reckless driving that results in death; four teachers from the district asking me to support K-12 education; district resident asking for a pay freeze for all public employees; Lino Lakes resident and Shoreview resident supporting SF97 that permits medical use of marijuana; Shoreview resident about a licensing matter; Lino Lakes resident supporting instant runoff voting; Lino Lakes resident supporting increased funding for the judicial system; district resident asking for no tax increases; district resident supporting Governor's proposal to reduce business taxes; North Oaks resident supporting legislation that would better regulate puppy and kitten mills; Shoreview resident against tax increases; North Oaks resident supporting full funding for special education; North Oaks resident supporting legislation allowing cities to pass an ordinance requiring buckthorn treatment; Lino Lakes couple supporting education as top priority; Shoreview resident supporting Rep. Dittrich's bill (HF105) that requires schools to have fiscal literacy as part of high school economics offerings