February 14, 2020

Minnesota Legislative Update: 2020 Session Convenes

The 2020 Minnesota legislative session convened on Tuesday, February 11. Committees wasted no time meeting to hear and process bills. Two new representatives were sworn in this week, as Rep. Paul Novotney (R-Elk River) and Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL-Minneapolis) were both winners in special elections on February 4, replacing Rep. Nick Zerwas and Rep. Diane Loeffler, respectively.

During the interim, there were two changes to Governor Tim Walz’s Cabinet: Jodi Harpstead is the new Commissioner of the Department of Human Services and Charlie Zelle is the new Chair of the Metropolitan Council.

On Friday, Sen. Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth) announced he would not seek reelection. Senator Anderson is serving his first term in the Minnesota Senate.

Insulin Affordability

As was the case during the 2019 session and the interim, insulin affordability is a high priority for the House DFL this session. To expedite the committee process, the House held hearings on three identical bills — HF3100, HF3144 and HF3143 — which are all authored by Rep. Mike Howard (DFL-Richfield). These bills, which will be merged into one bill in the coming week, establish an emergency insulin program providing a three-month supply of insulin for those that qualify. The costs associated with the program are paid for by insulin manufacturers through a registration fee, which each insulin manufacturer must participate in as a condition of doing business in the state. The bills would also set cost-sharing limits in the private insurance market and require a notice to be provided prior to ending coverage. During these hearings, concerns were raised regarding the impact of these fees on health care costs elsewhere and whether duplicate programs already exist.

HF3100 was heard in Commerce Committee and Health and Human Services Policy Committee and referred to State Government Finance Division. HF3144 was heard in Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Finance Division and was referred to the Health and Human Services Finance Division. HF3143 was heard in Government Operations and referred to Health and Human Services Finance Division.

The Senate insulin bill, SF3019, authored by Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), was heard in the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee and establishes an affordable insulin assistance program which includes emergency and long-term insulin. The bill requires health plans to provide notice to enrollees when a dependent child will no longer be eligible for coverage and establish a public awareness campaign. The bill also requires manufacturers licensed in Minnesota to participate in the assistance program as part of doing business and runs the program though MnSure. The bill passed and was referred to the Commerce Committee.

Clean Energy

The Senate Energy and Utility Finance and Policy Committee heard a delete-everything amendment to SF1456, the Senate’s Clean Energy First bill. Authored by Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester), this bill attempts to prioritize clean energy regarding future state energy needs. The bill requires Minnesota utility companies to prioritize carbon-free technology, directs the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to set rates on cost of service, and includes nuclear, solar, wind, hydropower, carbon sequestration and municipal solid waste as clean energy. The committee heard testimony from interest groups this week and is expected to complete its markup of the bill later next week.

HF1405, authored by Rep. Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), the House companion, is awaiting a hearing in Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division.

Important Dates

  • February 27: February Economic Forecast Released
  • March 3: Minnesota Presidential Primary (Super Tuesday)
  • March 13: First Committee Deadline
  • March 20: Second Committee Deadline
  • April 3: Third Committee Deadline
  • April 3-13: Legislative Recess
  • May 15-16: GOP State Convention
  • May 18: Legislature Adjourns
  • May 30-31: DFL State Convention
  • June 2: Candidate Filing Deadline for 2020 Election
  • August 11: Primary Election Day
  • November 3: Election Day
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