The following is a legislative update sent to MNAAP members on Monday, May 1, 2023. This is an abbreviated version of the message members receive from the chapter’s lobbyist. If you are a MNAAP member and you are not receiving a legislative update, contact Communications Manager Bethany Venable via email.
Conversion Therapy Ban, Gender Affirming Care, and RFDA Signed into Law
Three bills were signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz on April 27. The first, HF 16 (Hollins, DFL – St. Paul; Dibble, DFL – Minneapolis), would prohibit the use of conversion therapy for individuals under the age of 18. The second bill, HF 146 (Finke, DFL – St. Paul; Maye Quade, DFL – Apple Valley), seeks to protect transgender people, their families, and providers from legal repercussions if they travel to Minnesota to get gender-affirming care. Lastly, HF 366 (Agbaje, DFL – Minneapolis; Morrison, DFL – Deephaven), also known as the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (RFDA), would also prevent state courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests, or subpoenas related to care received in Minnesota.
All three laws are effective immediately.
House and Senate Pass Health Omnibus Bill, Conference Committee Soon
On April 26, the Minnesota House passed the omnibus health and human services budget bill on a 69-58 vote. A week prior, the Senate passed its version on a 35-32 vote margin. Though some details are different, both bills include the creation of a Health Care Affordability Commission to establish and enforce healthcare spending limits. In addition, both bills include efforts to expand access to affordable health coverage. The language would expand coverage for MinnesotaCare, provide coverage for non-documented children, and offer subsidies to encourage Minnesotans to purchase coverage with lower deductibles. It also includes efforts to further expand MinnesotaCare to more Minnesotans through what is referred to as the “public option,” beginning in 2027. Both bills include language to repeal current statutes intended to obstruct access to reproductive healthcare services, grant funding to address healthcare worker safety, and updates to the all-payer claims database (APCD). Both bills also include a two-year extension for coverage of audio-only telehealth, medical assistance (MA) coverage for recuperative care services, and an initiative to direct the Commissioner of Health to develop a statewide database for POLST (Provider Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms.
Since the language in the House and Senate bills are different, a conference committee has been formed to hash out the differences and develop identical language in a conference report that will then be acted on by both bodies. The conference committee members include Reps. Liebling (DFL – Rochester), Bierman (DFL – Apple Valley), Pinto (DFL – St. Paul), Keeler (DFL – Moorhead), Schomacker (R – Luverne) and Sens. Wiklund (DFL – Bloomington), Morrison (DFL – Deephaven), Bolden (DFL – Rochester), Kupec DFL – Moorhead), and Abeler (R – Anoka).
Adult-Use Cannabis Passes Clears Minnesota House and Senate, Moves to Conference Committee
A bill legalizing adult-use cannabis passed the House floor on April 25 on a 71-59 vote, and the Senate version (SF 73 (Port, DFL – Burnsville) passed on Friday, April 28, with a vote of 34-33.
HF 100 (Stephenson, DFL – Coon Rapids) would legalize and regulate the recreational use of cannabis for those 21 and older in Minnesota. The bill would also create an expungement process to automatically lift previous cannabis-related, low-level convictions off individuals’ criminal records.
The two bills will go to a conference committee to reconcile differences and then go to Gov. Tim Walz, who has previously indicated he will sign the bill.
Opioid Measure Included in Human Services Omnibus Bill
The House and Senate passed different versions of the omnibus human services budget bill that funds nursing homes, programs for disabled Minnesotans, and other social service programs. The different versions of the human services omnibus bills will be reconciled in a conference committee in the upcoming weeks.