News from Duane Quam, February 2

Hello from the State Capitol,

The Reform 2.0 agenda to reshape Minnesota’s government for the better, is taking shape.  Several different provisions within Reform 2.0 are being heard in committees, and once that process has been completed, they will arrive on the House floor for a full debate.

For instance, a lawsuit abuse proposal was approved on Wednesday.  Minnesota businesses currently operate in a climate permeated by the fear of frivolous lawsuits and windfall verdicts that could lead to layoffs, decreased production, or shut them down, and force people to pay increasingly higher prices for products and services.  Reform in this area is expected to drastically reduce the rate of frivolous claims that eat up court time and prevent businesses from investing in jobs and innovation – as was seen in Texas and Ohio after those two states enacted similar laws.

Health care reform was also debated in committee this week.  One provision would allow some MinnesotaCare recipients to receive vouchers that they can use to purchase private health care, which would put them in the driver’s seat of their health care choices.

Rulemaking reform is also going to receive strong consideration.  One of our goals is to establish a limited moratorium on state rulemaking and regulations.  Minnesota cities and businesses alike are overwhelmed with constantly-changing rules developed by state agencies. Slowing down this process for a year will allow lawmakers to review current regulations and see which ones can be repealed.

State lawmakers are taking heart from the positive results seen from last year’s reform package.  Minnesota is experiencing some big savings from these efforts – going from a $5.1 billion budget deficit then to a projected surplus of nearly $1 billion today.

I feel reform is necessary not only to help correct the path of government but to lay the groundwork that will jump start the growth of jobs and our economy.  Job creation is the solution to many of the hardships the people of Minnesota face, as well as many of the problems lawmakers tackle at the state level.

Clearly, the media’s focus this session will be the shiny object that is the Vikings stadium debate.  My focus will be improving the nuts and bolts that help state government function – and helping it return to being a partner with local government and a servant of its citizens.

Have a great weekend,

Duane

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