Home | News


April 11, 2013

Legislators returned from a weeklong holiday break and district work period to be greeted by protesters decrying proposed budget cuts to Health and Human Service programming. The budget targets announced by House and Senate leaders in late March would cut $150 million from current HHS spending while raising an additional $2 billion in revenues, much of that earmarked for education spending and property tax reform. Health care committees have begun crafting their budgets with these targets in mind, with final bills before the committees for votes before April 16.

Strongly supported by the MNAAP, the “MinneMinds” proposal continues to make progress through the legislature. Having cleared the policy committee hurdles in both bodies in March, education finance committees have begun assembling their finance packages. The MinneMinds bill was considered in the House on April 3, and is likely soon to be heard in the Senate.

March 12, 2013
  • An amendment adopted into a larger bill would prohibit the destruction of newborn screening test results until the Minnesota Department of Health reports back to the Legislature in 2014 on the validity of the time frames that samples and results are stored.  Testifying in support of the new language was Sue Berry, MD, president-elect of the MN-AAP. The bill’s next stop is the Senate Judiciary Committee. At this time, the newborn screening language is not yet included in the House companion to SF 1017.
  • One of the key legislative priorities for the MN-AAP has begun its march through the committee process in both the House and Senate. Legislation to address bullying and harassment in schools by requiring consistent and comprehensive definitions of bullying, protections for enumerated individuals more likely to be bullied and reporting of incidents was heard in education committees in both bodies.  MN-AAP member, Tom Scott, MD, testified in support of the proposal in the House.
  • A proposal to invest in early brain development via expanded access to early education programming has been introduced in both the House and Senate.  The “MinneMinds” package would provide almost $200 million in early education scholarships to 3 and 4 year olds in low-income families.  The MN-AAP is a member of the MinneMinds coalition that is advocating for passage of the bill.
  • The February forecast announced by Minnesota Management and Budget paints a somewhat rosier budget picture for both the current and next biennia.  The latest numbers project a small surplus in the 2012 – 2013 budget and a deficit of $627 million in 2014 – 2015.  That deficit figure is smaller than the October projection which had suggested a deficit of $1.1 billion.  The February forecast will serve as the framework from which legislators will craft the biennial budget, a process that will soon begin in earnest.
February 27, 2013
  • Over 100 pediatricians and pediatric residents from around the state gathered in St. Paul at the State Capitol on February 13 for the annual Pediatrician’s Day at the Capitol.   Attendees heard from MN AAP chapter leaders as well as committee chairs from the House HHS Policy Committee and the Senate Education Policy Committee.  Following a discussion of the chapter’s 2013 legislative priorities, many attendees met with their own legislators or watched committee hearings.
  • A bill to mandate pulse oximetry testing to detect congenital heart defects for all newborns prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center has moved through two committees in the House of Representatives.  The bill is authored by Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL – Faribault) in close concert with Rep. Nick Zerwas (GOP – Elk River), who himself was born with a congenital heart defect.
February 11, 2013
  • Mark your calendars for the 2013 Peds Day at the Capitol!  Set for February 13 2013, it’s a wonderful opportunity to visit with fellow pediatricians, hear from legislative leaders, and meet your elected officials.  Register here!
  • A number of bills dealing with tobacco came before the Legislature in recent weeks.  Both the House Tax Committee and the Senate Tax Reform Committee heard bills that would reclassify so-called “little cigars” as conventional cigarettes.  Particularly appealing to youth because of their fruit and candy flavoring and low price, little cigars are taxed at a far lower rate than cigarettes due to a loophole in the state’s tax law.  The bipartisan proposals would close the loophole, raising the price of the product.  Also receiving attention was a House proposal to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $1.60.  The MNAAP is part of the “Raise it For Health” Coalition, and has been actively supporting both of these efforts.
January 23, 2013
  • Governor Dayton’s budget proposal dominated the headlines and committee hearings at the Capitol this week. In addition to raising additional revenue via a higher income tax on high earners and an expansion of the sales tax (coupled with a lower rate), the proposal contained a number of items noteworthy for the MN-AAP. The proposal calls for an increased tobacco tax, expanded newborn screening program, increased funding for school-linked mental health services, and renewed investment in the physician workforce via MERC. The Governor’s budget proposal only serves as a starting point in crafting a final budget for the state; legislators will craft their own proposal in the months to come.
  • The MinneMinds coalition held it’s official kick-off event at the State Capitol on January 14. The group, of which the MN-AAP is a member, is a collection of over forty nonprofits, educators, business, unions, parents and religious groups. MinneMinds is calling for an expanded scholarship program to allow low income 3 and 4 year olds access to high quality early childhood education. Coalition members were joined at the launch by legislative leaders from key House and Senate committees.
  • Mark your calendars for the 2013 Peds Day at the Capitol! Set for February 2013, it’s a wonderful opportunity to visit with fellow pediatricians, hear from legislative leaders, and meet your elected officials. Register here!
Annual Sponsors