The 2015 Session: New Faces, New Opportunities


By MNAAP Lobbyist Eric Dick

Two statewide elected officials who came to office via recounts reelected easily. Another partisan flip in the state’s House of Representatives. In other words, November 2014 was a typically atypical Minnesota election.

Political observers in Minnesota have become used to the unusual in recent years, and the 2014 election was no different. Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken were first elected by the narrowest of margins during their first campaigns for their offices, though both Democrats were handily reelected last November. The Republican wave that swept most of the nation on Election Day did not entirely miss Minnesota, though, as the GOP retook the House of Representatives. This is the 4th partisan flip of the lower body in as many elections. The Senate, of course, was not on the ballot in 2014, and remains in DFL control.

So what does it mean for the 2015 session? First of all, it means new faces in the House of Representatives. The new majority elected a new Speaker of the House, Rep. Kurt Daudt (GOP – Crown), and new committee chairs were selected. With the House controlled by Republicans and the Senate and Governor’s Office controlled by the DFL, partisan disagreement may well once again become the norm. A projected budget surplus into the next biennium may help soothe some of the disagreement as both sides will have revenue available to claim some victories.

The MNAAP will once again be active at the Capitol in the 2015 session. With the guidance of the Policy Committee and Board of Directors, we’ve set our legislative agenda for 2015, and it includes many familiar issues. We’ll once again continue our call to ensure access and coverage for all of Minnesota’s newborns, children, adolescents, and pregnant women, including access to health care homes and mental health resources. The MNAAP will also continue to strongly advocate for investments in early brain development, including quality early education and early literacy programs. And as advocates for children’s health, we will continue to strongly support efforts to keep kids safe. As such, the MNAAP will back efforts to increase immunization rates, protect the newborn screening program, reduce children’s exposure and access to tobacco and nicotine, and advocate for efforts that reduce obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Decisions at the Capitol aren’t made in a vacuum; legislators pay attention the opinion of constituents. And there’s few better ways to let your legislators know the issues you care about than to attend the Pediatrician’s Day at the Capitol. If you haven’t already done so, please mark your calendars for the 2015 event. This event, set for March 18, 2015, is a key part of the MNAAP’s advocacy push, and we hope you’ll make plans to join us for this fun, interactive day of advocacy on behalf of children. For good or ill, the decisions made at the Capitol have significant impact on the health of children. There are few better advocates for children than pediatricians, and legislators need to hear your voice.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities