COMMENTARY: Sen. Utke outlines goals of legislative session
On Tuesday, Minnesota Senate Republicans kicked off the legislative session by putting families at the top of their 2019 session priority list, as we unveiled the subjects of the first five bills to be introduced later this week.
Just like the previous biennium, our 2019 agenda focuses on things that will benefit your family. Over the last several months, we've heard feedback from constituents across the state about what we still need to address. Your concerns are what shaped this agenda, and because of you, we are focusing on helping families with the cost and availability of child care, health care and mental health treatment.
We've also heard and seen your thoughts on government accountability and efficiency over the past years and will be making significant efforts to find and eliminate more waste and fraud in our state government by reforming our child care system, reviewing MN.IT, continuing to fix MNLARS and aligning our state's tax code.
Below, I've laid out a bit more detail on each priority:
• Supporting mental health. Senate Republicans promise a stronger legislative response to the growing problem families are facing regarding mental health, especially in our schools and on the farm.
• Making child care more accessible and affordable. During statewide listening sessions over the summer, Senate Republicans heard from parents struggling to find and afford child care. New legislation will address the regulatory overreach that causes these problems and encourage new child care providers to start up.
• Lowering health care costs. Senate Republicans will build upon their recent success in lowering health insurance premiums by offering new proposals that allow patients more freedom to choose their doctor, shop around for the best value for their health care dollar, and make health care billing more transparent.
• Making government more effective and accountable, and eliminating fraud. Senate Republicans will introduce several proposals to hold government more accountable and stop wasting money in the areas of child care fraud, MNLARS and other statewide IT failures.
• Making our tax code simpler and fairer. In addition to making tax filing easier by conforming to the new federal tax law, the Senate Republicans' proposal will simplify the tax code and reduce taxes for Minnesota families.
Over the next few weeks, you will see me and my colleges roll out additional details and more legislative priorities as we continue to get session underway. We know we will face challenges and hurdles this year but know ultimately our number one priority is to help you.