May 22, 2018
LEGISLATURE IS A WRAP: FINAL DECISIONS IN HANDS OF GOVERNOR
The 2018 legislative session wrapped up May 20 with a mix of good news and yet-to-be-determined news. But one fact is certain: The Minnesota Chamber fought tirelessly for the best interest of job-creators throughout the state. Achieving substantive changes in public policy is an incremental process, and we advocate for our members every step of the way.
This session's dynamics proved challenging – a short timetable, the November elections and Governor Dayton serving out his final year in office. We advanced a pro-growth agenda on several fronts. We urged lawmakers to seize the opportunity from federal tax reform and provide tax relief for all Minnesota employers and employees. We worked to reduce burdensome workplace regulations. We pushed for long-term transportation funding. We advocated for steps toward ensuring a talented workforce remains among Minnesota's greatest assets.
Much of 2018's legislative success now sits on the governor's desk. He has until June 3 to act on the bills passed on the final day of the Legislature. Most important, it's up to him whether employers and employees have a tax compliance nightmare or much-needed tax reforms and rate reductions. Help us encourage Governor Dayton to sign the bills sent to him by the Legislature.
2017 was a banner year for the statewide business community as we achieved significant and meaningful results on a variety of priorities. 2018 was more modest, reflecting on the results of 2017 and that it was a short session in an election year. We stand committed with our members, partners and the broader business community to work for a business future in Minnesota that improves the lives of all Minnesotans.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COSTS: GOOD NEWS
The Workers' Compensation Advisory Council rarely generates headlines, but this legislation was among our most significant achievements of the session. This bill includes an agreement that builds on years of work by all stakeholders. It streamlines provisions of care in the workers' compensation system by implementing fee schedules, provides increased benefits to injured workers, achieves cost-savings for employers, and reduces administrative friction for ambulatory surgical centers, hospitals and insurers.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT STANDARD: GOOD NEWS
Legislation that would have significantly changed the legal standard for filing a hostile work environment claim passed the House. However, the Senate decided to take a more deliberative approach. Minnesota employers are committed to providing professional and respectful workplaces, but this legislation would have made Minnesota an outlier in employment law.
EDUCATION/WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: GOOD NEWS
A lack of quality, affordable child care in nearly every community exacerbates our state's workforce shortage. Legislation was signed to reduce the redundant insurance paperwork and improve the transparency of state regulations for child-care providers.
HEALTH CARE: GOOD NEWS, AND COULD BE GOOD NEWS
Overall health care costs are raising out-of-pocket prices for health insurance policyholders, forcing them to be better consumers but often with incomplete information about cost. Legislation was signed that will strengthen existing law, requiring providers and insurers to disclose the cost of medical procedures upon request and within 10 days.
We also advocated for the creation of an Independent Health Policy Commission that would review and recommend how Minnesota can better achieve improved access, care and health outcomes at lower costs through our commercial market and public programs. The provision is part of the omnibus budget bill, which awaits the Governor's action.
TRANSPORTATION: GOOD NEWS
Streamlining environmental review and permitting at state agencies has been a shared goal with the Dayton Administration. This bill makes changes to the wetland mitigation law, establishes a peer review for new water quality standards, requires legislative approval for water quality fee increases and creates a 16-year permit for industrial wastewater treatment plants. Our policy changes are part of the omnibus budget bill, which awaits the Governor's action.
With our legislative efforts wrapped up at the Capitol, we are ready to look toward the future and work on issues important to growing Minnesota.
Interested in more detail? Tune into the legislative wrap-up webinar on May 24, or find a Statewide Policy Tour in your neighborhood.