Sandra Masin: Representative Minnesota House District 52A
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This article was originally posted on 03-03-2010
General Assistance Medical Care (GMAC) Restored!

March 3, 2010

Dear Neighbors,

Last week the Minnesota House voted overwhelmingly – by a vote of 125-9 – to restore General Assistance Medical Care (GMAC). The bill we passed would have temporarily restored GAMC, a program which provides basic health care to 85,000 Minnesotans.

The legislative solution represents three inherent Minnesota values – compassion, common sense and fiscal responsibility. The Governor’s plan to auto-enroll GAMC recipients in MinnesotaCare would provide care to only 21,000 persons per month at a cost of $937 per enrollee for six months. The legislative solution would provide care to 38,000 per month at a cost of $457 per enrollee for sixteen months.

Rep. Erin Murphy said it best when she said “While Minnesotans are short on budgetary resources, we’ve got no shortage of conscience.” This legislation would care for our poorest and sickest citizens, protect jobs, taxpayers, businesses, and do so at a significantly reduced cost to Minnesota taxpayers.

Unfortunately, within hours of the bill’s passage, the Governor vetoed it. While negotiations continued with his office throughout the weekend, an agreement was not reached, and an attempt to override the veto in the House on Monday was unsuccessful when the 38 Republicans who originally supported the bipartisan reform proposal voted to uphold the Governor’s veto.

Starting this week, the Pawlenty Administration will move forward with its plan to auto-enroll former GAMC recipients into MinnesotaCare. That means more than 30,000 of our Minnesota’s poorest and sickest citizens will receive notice that they will be enrolled in another program that will end up costing the state more money and offer less coverage. Additionally, another 20,000 people will lose their healthcare as a result of these changes.

At the time of this update, we continue to look for another responsible way to move forward, and I am committed to doing whatever I can to come up with a solution that is acceptable to all sides. I will continue to keep you updated as we move forward.

Sincerely,
Sandy
State Representative Sandra Masin
House District 38A


Making our Roads Safer, Reducing Distracted Driving

Last session, the Legislature passed and Governor Pawlenty signed a bill that made Minnesota one of nearly two dozen states in which it is illegal to text while driving. In 2008, more than 6000 deaths nationwide were attributed to distracted driving. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pushing to ban texting while driving in all 50 states.

Today, David Teater of the National Safety Council (NSC), one of the nation’s foremost authorities on distracted driving will testify on the issue at a hearing of the House Transportation and Transit Policy and Oversight Division. Most recently, Mr. Teater served as a board member, investor and consultant to Aegis Mobility, a company developing technology solutions to distracted driving. He joined the NSC because of his passion to save lives, particularly related to distracted driving. Six years ago his 12-year-old son, Joe, died in a crash when the Teater car was struck at an intersection by a young woman who ran a red light while talking on a cell phone. Since then, David has made it his life’s work to advocate for the need to stop cell phone use while driving. David has spoken to many groups and appeared before several legislatures, advocating for bans on cell phone use while driving.

SMALL BUSINESS SURVEY RESULTS

This fall, the bipartisan Small Business Caucus has been working to identify and address some of the challenges facing small businesses in Minnesota.

That work began with a coordinated effort to listen to the concerns of small business owners. We collected input from nearly 1,100 small business owners statewide through a legislative survey. While not scientific survey, it did provide valuable insights that will help us shape policy proposals to help create a more favorable business climate.

A comprehensive summary of the results can be found at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/10smallbusinessresults.pdf.

Members of the Small Business Caucus have begun considering this input and are crafting specific policies to help make Minnesota an even better place to do business. A story about some of those proposals appeared in the business section of the Pioneer Press last week. Read more about them at http://www.twincities.com/business/ci_14473803?nclick_check=1.

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