Things in St. Paul are fully ramped up as the Minnesota Legislature heads into what’s commonly known as “Deadline Week.” This upcoming Friday, March 15, is the last day for bills in either the House or Senate to pass out of all necessary policy committees in order to be considered for adoption this session. Unless it is a tax bill or a top priority for the body’s majority caucus, nearly every piece of legislation that does not meet deadline is dead for the session. That means lobbyists and legislators are hard at work trying to convince committee chairs to hear and pass their bills into the House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, or either body’s tax committee before this Friday.
We wanted to provide a quick update on Medical Alley Association’s 2019 State Legislative Agenda as we head into this pivotal week:
The bills reinstating the Angel Investment Tax Credit have already met the first committee deadline thanks to the Senate version (SF788) passing out of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee and into the Senate Taxes Committee in late February. The House version, HF1268, will be heard this Tuesday, March 12, in the House Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division and be sent to the House Tax Committee. We anticipate a hearing in each Tax Committee sometime in late March or early April.
These bills have met committee deadline; they were introduced directly into the tax committee in each body. The Senate version, SF996, received a hearing in late February and was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus tax bill. The House version has yet to receive a hearing.
Representative Stephenson’s bill received its first hearing this past week in the House Labor Committee, where it was passed to the House Ways and Means Committee; from there it is likely to be sent to the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division. This means the bill has met first deadline. The Senate version has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee.
These bills, providing an $800,000 one-time grant to Science from Scientists, have made first deadline by virtue of being referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; it was subsequently referred to the House Education Finance Division. The Senate version is in the E-12 Finance and Policy Committee. Both bills are awaiting their first hearing.
The House bill received its first hearing in the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division in late February; it has met first deadline due to being referred to the Ways & Means Committee (and then to the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division). The Senate version was referred to the Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee where it awaits its first hearing.
Each of these bills is well on its way to meeting the first deadline. The Senate version had two committee stops last week and is likely to receive its third and final stop prior to meeting deadline later this week. The House bill passed out of the Higher Education Finance and Policy Division and will be heard in House Government Operations and Election Policy Committee on Tuesday before heading to Ways and Means, where it will be referred to the HHS Finance Division; as a result, this bill will meet first deadline.
The House version has passed out of one committee and is waiting to be heard in the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division. The Senate version will receive its first hearing in Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy this Tuesday.
Responding to a letter sent by Medical Alley Association in late February, the entire Minnesota House Delegation wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Gottlieb urging additional focus on finding alternate sterilization facilities to quickly address the potential issues created by the loss of a commonly used facility.
We are grateful to Representatives Emmer and Phillips for their decisive leadership and to Representatives Craig, Hagedorn, McCollum, Omar, Peterson, and Stauber for their help with this pressing issue. Working together, we will ensure that patients get the life-improving devices they need, manufacturers have a stable source of sterilization, and Minnesota remains the global epicenter of health innovation and care.
As a reminder, the FDA has issued a letter regarding this situation. They acknowledged the issues the closure could cause and announced they would be taking action on requests for alternative sterilization sites within 30 days, instead of the typical 180 days. Additionally, the FDA provided an email address to handle questions and shortage concerns as a result of this site closure. That email address is: Deviceshortages@fda.hhs.gov.
Late last week, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar – along with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey – reintroduced the Protect Medical Innovation Act to permanently repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax. Joining Senator Klobuchar as an original cosponsor is Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, who was also a cosponsor during the last congress. We are grateful for the leadership and support shown by both Minnesota Senators in sponsoring this legislation, and we look forward to working with them in getting this bill signed into law.
See the full release from Medical Alley Association thanking Senators Klobuchar and Smith here.
Medical Alley Association and Takeda had a seat at the House Labor Committee last week to testify in support of Representative Stephenson’s bill, HF 1507 that modifies various requirements of the Minnesota investment fund (MIF) and the jobs training grants program (JTIP). This bill increases MIF from $1 million to $2 million and increases JTIP from $1.5 million to $3 million, and expands the program to the metro area for IT and manufacturing jobs. HF 1507 is a bill particularly important to Medical Alley’s vision of being recognized as the global epicenter of heal innovation and care. There is a huge need to grow Minnesota’s talent pool and better prepare our workforce. By focusing JTIP to manufacturing and IT sectors, we can focus where some of the greatest needs and highest wages are. Expanding MIF will help attract and grow the health innovation and care industry in Minnesota. Takeda was able to use MIF to leverage it for its new Global Center of Excellence in Brooklyn Park. Thank you, Takeda, for allowing Minnesota to be an important part of your story. And thank you, Representative Stephenson, for authoring HF 1507, a bill that is a critical piece for Medical Alley’s vision of the future. This bill helps grow our talent pool, prepare our existing workforce, and provide an environment that attracts investment and increase the opportunity for health innovation and care organizations to succeed.
Some people have fears of heights, snakes, spiders…. I have a fear of public speaking. This week I had to face that fear and testify in front of the house labor committee. The only other time I have ever spoken in committee I was sitting on the opposite side of the table as a committee staffer. It’s a whole new ballgame sitting up at the testifier table. Thankfully I made it through it. My Fitbit may have thought I was going for a run since my heart rate was so high, but I made it. Luckily for me I will have many more opportunities to testify this session. We have one more week before policy deadlines which means we are going to need gallons of coffee for all of the night hearings this week. While first deadlines may be stressful for us, it is far worse for staff, so remember to be patient and kind. They are running on little to no sleep.
We’ll check back in week 11… after we catch up on our sleep.