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Big Picture Issues

Economy Continues to Boom                        

Minnesota’s economy continues to roar ahead after the 2020-2021 COVID slowdown.     Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1% in January, well below the 3.8% national average. Minnesota Management and Budget announced on Thursday that tax collections in January were 25% greater than projected. Corporate tax revenues were $642 million more than forecast . Since July 1, the start of the State’s fiscal year, tax revenues are $1.5 billion higher than projected. The State already has a projected $7.7 billion surplus based on the November budget forecast. A new budget forecast will be released in the next month that will guide spending and tax decision-making for the remainder of the session.

Senator Injured in Snowmobile Crash                          

Senator John Jasinski (R-Faribault) was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident on Friday while snowmobiling with fellow Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). The accident took place in rural Morrison County. Jasinski suffered three broken ribs, a broken pelvis and multiple fractured vertebrae when he was run over by a snowmobile driven by Johnson after being thrown from his snowmobile making a sharp turn. Jasinski was transported by helicopter to North Memorial. In a statement Jasinski said his “physical recovery may be long”, but he is expected to make a full recovery. On Thursday he announced that he will be unable to walk for two months.   He said he would continue to participate in the session via remote hearings and floor sessions. Jasinski, one of five Assistant Majority Leaders, is serving his second term.

House Commerce Approves Dental Contracting Bills

The House Commerce Committee on Tuesday heard and approved several bills affecting contracts between commercial insurers and dentists. They were:

  • HF2673(Reyer, DFL-Eagan) increases transparency in contracts between a dentist or dental clinic and a commercial dental plan regulated under 62Q. Changes relate to disclosures of fee schedules, methods of payment, and whether a dental plan is renting out its dental networks. It permits third parties access to a dental provider contract. The bill was approved and referred to the Committee on Health Finance and Policy.
  • HF2916(Reyer, DFL-Eagan) allows a dentist to bill and collect payment from a commercially-insured enrollee for a service that is covered by a 62Q dental plan if the dentist discloses certain information to the enrollee, receives consent from the enrollee, provides a copy of the consent to the dental organization upon request, and accepts as payment in full the amount the dentist would have accepted from the dental organization. The bill was approved and referred to the Committee on Health Finance and Policy.