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Joe Atkins

Mar 6, 2013

E-pulltabs: A fatal case of ‘I told you so’?

Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter went before the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday to give an overview of the February forecast, which had cut the projected budget deficit from $1.1 billion down to $627 million over the next two years.

Mar 5, 2013

House passes health exchange bill; Senate will vote Thursday

Rep. Joe Atkins (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher) Legislation establishing a health insurance exchange cleared the House on a largely partisan vote on Monday evening. The 72-58 vote followed more than five hours of contentious debate over the proposal to provide a marketplace for individuals and businesses to purchase insurance products under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Feb 20, 2013

HIX bills draw closer to floor debate

Legislation to establish a Minnesota health insurance exchange is nearing the end of its grueling committee march. The House version has cleared six committees, with stops at Taxes and Ways and Means still ahead. In the Senate, where the bill has also cleared six committees, it awaits only a stop in Rules and Administration before moving to the floor.

Feb 13, 2013

Minnesota Nurses Association details revamped safe staffing legislation

The Minnesota Nurses Association is pushing a proposal that it believes will increase patient safety at the state's hospitals. The legislation would require all hospitals to meet staffing standards based on recommendation from national health care groups.

Jan 25, 2013

Exchange advances despite controversy

January is generally not the time of year for four-hour committee hearings at the Capitol. But Wednesday’s gathering of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee nearly reached that dubious mark.

Jan 11, 2013

First bills target schools, taxes

In their first joint action of the 2013 session, the newly elected Democratic leaders of the Minnesota Legislature held a news conference to show they were on the same page regarding broad goals for the biennium. First and foremost, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk promised to balance a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit without gimmicks and without heading into a [...]

Jan 9, 2013

Legislators introduce bill establishing health insurance exchange

A bipartisan group of legislators unveiled a bill on Wednesday to create a state-administered marketplace where individuals and corporations will be able to purchase health insurance. Minnesota must enact such legislation by the end of March in order to be in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act, which will be fully implemented in 2014.

Dec 28, 2012

Committee rosters set for 2013-14 Legislature

With DFLers back in control of the House and Senate, many familiar faces will be wielding key gavels when the Legislature convenes on January 8.

Dec 26, 2012

Minnesota insurance exchange will need fast attention

Key question: Does Minnesota want to be more like Massachusetts or Utah?

Dec 19, 2012

Insurance exchange will need fast attention

Close observers and key players in Minnesota’s project to create a health insurance exchange have some advice for those who want to follow the process: Pay close attention, and don’t blink.

Nov 9, 2012

DFL majorities pick their leaders

Close on the heels of Tuesday’s election, members of the new DFL House and Senate majorities gathered behind closed doors on Thursday to elect their leaders. As expected, the minority leaders who helped steer Democrats back into control — Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook — were elevated to House speaker and Senate majority leader.

Sep 5, 2012

Stadium project awaits bond ruling

Though the ink has long since dried on the Minnesota Vikings stadium legislation, there is still sufficient action on several stadium-related fronts to keep Vikings lobbyists employed for the foreseeable future.

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