Our second committee deadline is Friday at midnight and we're hearing numerous bills in each committee to meet it. Hopefully it will help us avoid any end-of-session chaos.
HF5 v MinnesotaCare Option On Monday, the House passed a Republican reinsurance plan that will subsidize insurance companies. It also establishes an 11-member board to administer the program - a majority of board members will be representing those insurance companies.
The Republican author said numerous times in committee and on the floor that he doesn't know the impact of the legislation, which means $400 million in taxpayer money is being given to insurance companies with no guarantee of it reducing premiums, stabilizing the market, or increasing access. For those reasons, I voted no.
Democrats provided a more affordable option by allowing the public to 'buy-in' to MinnesotaCare, a successful plan that has worked well in Minnesota for 25 years. Participant premiums would cover the entire cost of their policies, meaning there would be no ongoing cost to taxpayers.
Outside of the metro area, Minnesotans will have access to a broad network of physicians and care providers, delivering more choice to families selecting health care providers.
Supplemental Budget and Targets On February 28, the budget forecast was released. Gov. Dayton is finishing his supplemental budget and we should get the details shortly.
The Republican House majority have yet to announce their budget targets, which are the final pieces of information committee chairs need to assemble their committee's budgets.
Town Hall Reminder I'll be hosting a town hall meeting with Sen. Jim Carlson on Saturday, April 1 at Metcalf Middle School in Burnsville. Weā€™ll be joined by Sen. John Marty and others to speak about health care issues.
Legislative Town Hall
Metcalf Middle School Cafeteria
Sat. April 1, 2017
10:00am - 12:00 noon
2250 Diffley Road, Burnsville, MN, 55337
Town halls are always valuable for us to communicate with the people we represent. All constituents are invited and I hope to see you there!
Capitol Visitors I had the pleasure of meeting with people participating in Homeless Day on the Hill as well as speaking with a group of Burnsville High School students. It's always great to meet Minnesotans of all ages and talk about issues that matter to them.
Rep. Masin with Homeless Day on the Hill participants
Rep. Masin talks with Burnsville High School students
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at the Capitol.
January 30, 2017 - Legislative Update: Health Insurance Premiums Relief bill passes
Posted on 30 January 2017
As we wrap up the fourth week of the legislative session, here's an update on where things currently stand:
Premium Relief I supported Gov. Dayton's plan for an immediate rebate for those affected by the drastic increases in the individual market since he released it three months ago. The original Republican bill would have delayed relief until 2018 due to red tape and would have allowed insurance companies to sell policies that don't cover things like cancer, emergency services and nearly 100 other health issues.
I'm pleased that the Republican majority chose to use Gov. Dayton's plan to ensure Minnesotans get the relief they need and that the other provisions detailed above were removed from the bill as well.
But Gov. Dayton's plan was on the table for months and Republicans withheld the relief until five days before the end of open enrollment; even then, they made sure the price of providing relief to our neighbors was accepting untested reforms to the market, including allowing for-profit insurers to operate in our state.
Potentially destabilizing the market with reforms that haven't been subjected to sufficient analysis is irresponsible and could threaten the quality of our care.
Gov. Dayton's budget On Tuesday, Gov. Dayton released his budget proposal for 2018 and 2019. It is called the Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota and focuses on strategies to create opportunity and build an economy that works for everyone around the state.
Parts of his budget include sustainable increases in education funding and tax cuts for Minnesota families, while he's also stated his commitment to making the state government as efficient, lean and responsive as possible.
These are healthy, responsible goals for us to work toward and I'm looking forward to contributing to this progress.
If you have any questions or concerns relating to the topics above or anything else, please feel free to contact me.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Posted on 21 January 2017
Last Thursday evening the Minnesota House - controlled and dominated by GOP legislators led by Speaker Kurt Daudt, voted to pass HF-1. This bill was supposed to provide insurance premium relief to over 120,000 Minnesotans, who this year have to cope with HUGE INCREASES in payments for their health insurance. These are Minnesotans whose income is above the level where they qualify for subsidies - over 120,000 people. These are people like yourself who work hard, sometimes holding down more than one job to make ends meet, your neighbors, co-workers.
Instead of providing financial relief to these people who are victimized by health insurance companies outrageous raises of premiums, the GOP doubled down on their misery!
Gov. Dayton released this detailed response to the approval of HF-1 by GOP Legislators. It is shocking to read what they did.
Rep. Masin voted AGAINST this "relief" bill, and stated the following:
"A disastrous response to people who are concerned about obtaining health insurance to cover their healthcare. The Governor's message gives some of the sordid details of the Republican bill that passed off the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening. What is the point of paying for health insurance if it doesn't provide necessary coverage for anything? Why provide money to insurance companies that show no concern for people's well being?
Please contact the Speaker of the House, legislators saying Minnesotans needs something that works for our residents. Please ask the Governor to keep fighting for Minnesotans and reject any legislation that makes things worse for Minnesotans."
It took long years, many legislative battles, and even the untimely deaths of sick people who could not get health care to save their lives, to pass legislation that made health insurance affordable and insured health care accessible in Minnesota. Last night, the GOP in the MN House took Minnesota back to the dark years of nearly a decade ago!
Gov. Dayton's letter lays out the case, point by point, how insurance companies come out the winners here!
They get from you the premiums, then they get the dollars allocated by the state to provide relief from the high premiums, and in addition, their obligation to provide coverage for your health care is drastically reduced.
Every Minnesotan is either directly having to cope with premiums that jumped skyhigh, or knows someone close who is affected by that.
But there is more to this! The bill also lays out the ground for future reductions of essential services and benefits to ALL MINNESOTANS, at all levels. The elimination of many services and the essential benefit cuts is a disaster for the health care of ALL Minnesotans.
A View of Housing in our Communities - Discussion
Posted on 16 January 2017
MICAH South invites you to meet with your Legislators to build relationships and proclaim as people of faith.
The panel discussing "A View of Housing in our Communities" will be:
Nandi Rieck - Federal & State Program Specialist, Dist. 196
Rick Casey - Community Representative
Tony Schertler- Executive Director, Dakota County CDA
Sue Watlov Phillips - Executive Director, MICAH
Rep. Masin will attend this meeting as well. Constituents will have the opportunity to dialogue with their Legislators in district groups about housing & other issues of concern. RSVP/questions: Kathy Groettum firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Church of St. John Neumann, 4030 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan
7:15am - Doors Open and Continental Breakfast.
7:30am - 8:45am Program & Dialogue.
Happy New Year Wishes, Legislative Committees
Posted on 2 January 2017
I wish you all a Happy New Year in 2017.
I learned that in the next Legislative Session I will be serving on Government Operations & Elections, Transportation & Regional Governance Policy, and Transportation Finance Committees. I am very excited to get back to work. There is much to be done.
House District 51A
Burnsville and Eagan
A message from Rep. Sandra Masin
Posted on 9 November 2016
Rep. Sandra Masin released the following post-2016 Election message today:
It takes a lot of people to run a campaign as well as a lot work. I want to express my appreciation to everyone who helped with my campaign, it is truly a team effort. Thanks to all for your hard work and talents. I am so very grateful to have your help.
My appreciation to everyone who cast their vote for me. I appreciate your confidence in me and your support.
The campaign season is over and we all can now concentrate on the work that needs to be done for Minnesotans. There is much to do!
Rep. Sandy Masin interview on Access to Democracy TV Program
Posted on 23 October 2016
Rep. Masin interviewed on Access to Democracy recently and you can watch the interview below or on Eagan-T (E-TV) Channel 15.
Check out Rep. Masin's timely blog
Posted on 20 October 2016
Rep. Masin published a post in her blog site about the difficulty of being a parent in the USA. This is an issue that is not getting much attention, but really should, for the sake of kids and their parents...
What a fantastic day to have a parade! The weather cpuld not be better. The paraders had an easy time and spectators were in high spirit and encouraged and cheered everyone - they made it so much fun to walk in the parade.
So many thank yous go to all the fopks in my parade unit. And the many volunteers who worked for many-many weeks to organize this perfect event - thank you! The manyvolunteers involved in my parade unit organization - thank you.
The Fire Muster in Burnsville is a multi-day event continuing through Sunday. It has been run now for 38 years - WOW! There are booths, carnival, music, and many more items.
The Boy Scouts were great support coming around to tell us they'll bring food.
Again - many many thanks to all the volunteers who put in time, energy and enthusiasm - the results show your dedication and spirit!
Fourth of July 2016
Posted on 4 July 2016
Perfect weather! What a great parade and audience. It was great to see so many people we know and get their reactions and greetings. Thank you all who participated and helped make this a great occasion.
Legislative Update - July 1, 2016
Posted on 1 July 2016
I hope you are enjoying our wonderful summer weather with your friends and family. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of my activities recently. Last week, I attended the Summit on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders hosted by Women in Government, a nonpartisan organization of women state legislators providing networking, educational, and leadership opportunities. (See another item on this page.)
At this policy summit, we had the opportunity to learn about potential solutions to, as well as new ways to look at, substance use disorders. We heard from William Moyers - vice president of public affairs at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and oldest son of journalist Bill Moyers - about his own struggle with addiction and emerging ways to approach this epidemic. We also had eye-opening discussions about the inadequacy of mental health support available in our communities and especially the lack of these services in our criminal justice system.
As policymakers, we face unique challenges regarding these topics. First, we must end the stigma surrounding substance use disorders as well as mental health difficulties. People need to know it's okay to ask for help, and that no one is immune from addiction. Also, we have significant work left in order to reach parity for mental health and substance use as they compare to physical health. Lastly, the approach to the criminal justice system aspect as it relates to these conditions needs to change. Too many citizens are incarcerated who should really be receiving treatment, and there are steps we can take to improve outcomes for these individuals.
After this summit, Women in Government held their annual Midwestern Regional Conference in Bloomington, which I also attended. We had the opportunity to hear presentations about important topics such as criminal justice, growing our workforce, and agriculture, to name a few.
New Laws Today, July 1, many new laws go into effect. Each bill passed by the Legislature is given an "effective date";¯ sometimes the day the bill is signed into law immediately, sometimes July 1, sometimes August 1, and sometimes an arbitrary date based on provisions contained within the bill.
With July 1 being the start of the new fiscal year, bills containing appropriations go into effect today. Minnesota House Public Information Services has put together a comprehensive list of this legislation, which I invite you to check out here [pdf, 5 pages].
Happy 4th of July I hope you have a wonderful and safe Independence Day Holiday. The Eagan July 4th Funfest kicks off on Saturday with many wonderful events, the details of which you can learn about here. I look forward to this exciting community celebration every year, and I hope to see you around the festival grounds or at the parade.
Rep. Masin posted this recently in her private blog:
Women In Government is holding a Summit on Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders today and tomorrow in Bloomington. William Moyers, Vice President of Public Affairs, at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation talked about "Eliminating Barriers to Success." He said that he appreciates the use of "Substance Use Disorders" over "Substance Abuse." He said we need to eliminate the stigma attached to the problem and repeatedly said that "addiction doesn't discriminate." People need to know that it is okay to ask for help.
Kelly O'Brien, the Executive Director of The Kennedy Forum started her presentation with a video about "The System We Need." Both she and Sue Abderholden, the Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota, concentrated on the parity of mental health treatment to physical health treatment. Basically, it sounds like mental health has a ways to go.
Senator Barb Goodwin of Minnesota and Ira Burnim, Legal Director of Judge David Bazelon Center on Mental Health talked about mental health concerns in the Criminal Justice System. The sad fact is that we are imprisoning people that should be treated in mental health facilities. Not only is this barbaric, it is more costly and it hardly achieves a positive outcome.
The evening concluded with a screening of If Only, a movie about drug addiction among teens. Two men who worked on this project gave passionate presentations about the need to have community discussions this issue. Too many children are dying.
Rep. Sandra Masin (51A) - Legislative Update 6/17/2016
Posted on 18 June 2016
Constituent Coffee Hour I just want to remind you that I will be hosting another Constituent Coffee Hour at the Silver Bell Diner (1981 Silver Bell Rd, Eagan, MN) We will be there from 10 A.M. until noon on Saturday, June 18th. I really enjoy talking with and listening to people in our community so please stop by if you are able. This is always a casual gathering so please come and go as it fits your schedule.
Community Events Last Sunday (June 12th), I spoke with many people who attended the Eagan Historical Society's reopening celebration for Eagan's 1914 Town Hall. Later, I attended a memorial and concert to celebrate the life of Tony Caponi in Caponi Art Park. It is always such a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the many community events that Eagan and Burnsville have to offer.
I also want to thank everyone that was able to come to the Town Hall that Senator Carlson and I held last week. Most of the discussion was on the components of a comprehensive transportation bill.
Special Session Wednesday, legislative leaders met with the Governor to discuss the potential special session. Unfortunately, little progress was made. I am disappointed with the chaotic end of session. The majority party is responsible for scheduling the bills. This session it felt like the House Republican Majority truly underestimated the time frame needed to conduct our business. This was further complicated because the House and Senate met in different buildings.
I will continue to work with all of my colleagues to find a compromise so we can finish the job and pass the bonding and tax bills.
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns that I can assist you with.
Legislative Update - May 27, 2016
Posted on 27 May 2016
Legislative Session The 2016 legislative session ended shortly before midnight May 22, 2016 amidst a clamor of representatives still trying to be recognized. In a last minute attempt to fund transportation, the House Majority presented a revised bonding bill with a one-time sum of $300 million for transportation from the budget surplus. The final bonding/transportation bill was hurriedly cobbled together in the closing hours of session, allowing us less than 45 minutes to review the bill. The bill passed in the House, but was amended in the Senate and the House adjourned before considering the amended bill. [more]
As a way of background, an $800 million House bonding proposal was not released until May 19 - less than a week before we were constitutionally mandated to adjourn. There was not a sufficient amount of statewide projects to secure the 3/5 super majority vote needed to pass. The bill was discussed briefly, a House vote was taken, it failed, and was then "tabled" allowing it to be brought up again when a revised bill came forward.
As the entire House of Representatives learned this week, according to nonpartisan research, the final bonding bill contained several errors and omissions. House members received an updated spreadsheet from the House staff with corrections on Wednesday this week - two days after we adjourned. This is evidence that we need a transparent and open process when we legislate on bills that could potentially become law.
Although there were several missed opportunities, I was pleased to support a bipartisan tax bill that passed in the House. Highlights of the bill include an expansion of the child care tax credit, increased tax credits for veterans, property tax relief for small businesses, and a new student loan tax credit. My Burnsville TIF provision was also included in the final bill, which provides funding to the city to prepare the landfill property for development.
A special session to complete unfinished work is being taken into consideration. Governor Dayton has not committed and said he wouldn't until a solid agreement is struck between both House and Senate leaders.
Coffee Meet and Greet Tomorrow, May 28, I invite you to join me for a "Coffee Meet and Greet"¯ listening session. I will be meeting those interested at May 28th Junior's Sports Cafe (1996 Highway 13 E., Burnsville) from 10 a.m.-noon. I hope you can make it, and that you will bring your comments and questions.
"Coffee Meet and Greet"¯ is open-house style, and constituents are welcome to come at any point between 10:00 a.m. and noon.
I hope to see you soon.
Sandy Masin State Representative Minnesota House District 51A
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A mother of three grown children, with more than twenty years of engagement in local politics and
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The PRIMARY Election will be held on August 14, 2012. It is important that
you vote on this date to affirm your choice of Sandra Masin and assure that she can be a
candidate in the MAIN election in November.
The 2012 Elections will be held on November 6, 2012.