Following their “spring break,” legislators are gearing up for a critical stretch of this session: ten days of budget bills. Starting today, the House and Senate will begin consideration of their respective omnibus finance bills. Each of these bills funds a different part of state government, such as E-12 Education or Health and Human Services, and reflects the priorities of the originating chamber.
These are all projected to pass by May 1. They will then head to a conference committee, where the final agreement on each of them will be negotiated by the House, Senate, and Governor. The final day for the House and Senate to pass an agreed upon bill is May 20. We will be providing a more in-depth look at the differences between key bills once they reach the conference committee.
Below is a quick update on each of the major items from the Medical Alley Association’s 2019 State Legislative Agenda including those that did not receive traction this session. They are organized similarly to the document from the beginning of session that can be found here.
Reinstate and Make Permanent the Angel Investment Tax Credit
Reinstating the Angel Investment Tax Credit
Language reinstating the Angel Investment Tax Credit (AITC) for two years at $10 million per year has been included in the House omnibus tax bill (HF2125 – Marquart). This bill has passed out of all committees and is awaiting action on the House floor. The Senate omnibus tax bill has not yet been released; we anticipate language reinstating the AITC will be included in this bill as well.
While this is not exactly what we were hoping for, ultimately getting the program back up and running was the key goal for this legislative session. Once appointed, we will work with members of the conference committee to secure inclusion of this provision in the final bill.
Enhance and Simplify Existing Incentives for Growth and Expansion in Minnesota
Creating an Alternative Simplified Research & Development Credit
Status: Likely Dead
While each of these bills received hearings in their respective body’s tax committee, this language was not included in the House omnibus tax bill and we do not anticipate that it will be in the Senate omnibus tax bill either.
Prepare New Talent by Leveraging Existing Partnerships and Developing New Ones
Expanding the Jobs Training Incentive Program; Increasing maximum MIF award amount
Language implementing HF1507 is included as part of the House omnibus jobs and economic development, energy and climate, and telecommunications policy and finance bill (HF2208 – Mahoney). To accommodate the concerns of Greater Minnesota interest groups, rather than expanding the Jobs Training Incentive Program (JTIP) as the bill originally did, it creates a parallel program specifically for the metro area instead. Language increasing the maximum MIF award amount to $2 million was also included.
The Senate version of the bill was not heard and was not included in the Senate omnibus jobs and economic growth finance bill.
Once appointed, we will work with members of the conference committee to secure inclusion of this provision in the final bill.
Grant Program to Expand Science from Scientists
These bills provide a one-time grant of $800,000 to Science from Scientists to expand into schools on their waiting list, particularly in Greater Minnesota. Each bill received a hearing in its chamber’s respective education finance committee. Unfortunately, the language was not included in the omnibus bill in either chamber. MAA will be working to continue educating legislators on this program and the success it has had in reducing the achievement gap in STEM.
Funding the SciTechsperience Program
The House and Senate each included this program in their omnibus jobs bill. The House version includes this program among several that have access to a pool of grant money, but it is not guaranteed any of that funding. The Senate version (SF2611 – Pratt) provides a $1.5 million grant to this program in FY2020 and FY2021.
Once appointed, we will work with members of the conference committee to secure language assuring this program receives grant funding as part of the final bill.
Establish a State-Level Rare Diseases Advisory Council
Creating a Rare Diseases Advisory Council
This language was included in omnibus bills in both the House and Senate. The House put the language, and accompanying appropriation for two years, into the omnibus health and human services finance bill (HF2414 – Liebling). The Senate included it as part of their higher education finance omnibus bill (SF2415 – Anderson, P.); it was funded at slightly less than requested, but as an ongoing concern.
We will be working with each of the conference committees, as well as the bill authors, to ensure this language is included as part of an omnibus bill that is signed by the Governor.
Improve Access by Eliminating Barriers Hindering Coordinated Care and Impeding Care Delivery
Modernizing the Minnesota Health Records Act
This bill did not make committee deadline in either body. At this point, there is no plan to try and amend it onto a bill on the floor of either chamber. The coalition advocating for this change will be meeting throughout the interim in an attempt to build support for this legislation.
Develop and Increase Use of Non-Opioid Pain Management Techniques
Establishing an Opioid Technology Challenge Grant Program
Bills: HF375 (Albright)
This bill creates a program, similar to one that exists in Ohio, to create a grant competition for healthcare startups focused around addressing the opioid epidemic and addiction issues. The legislation did not receiving a hearing this year. However, MAA will continue working with the author to improve the legislation and ensure that it receives a hearing next session.
This past week, MAA member Bio-Techne hosted Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for his annual State of the City address at their global headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis. Bio-Techne CEO Chuck Kummeth kicked off the event by welcoming the Mayor, his staff, and the community to Bio-Techne; he also shared some facts about Bio-Teche to warm up the crowd: It is the largest biotech company in Minnesota with nearly 800 employees in Minneapolis (and 2,100 worldwide) and they make over 40,000 products. Mayor Frey made note of Bio-Techne and its commitment to Minneapolis multiple times during his address.
Thank you to Mayor Frey for recognizing the importance of Bio-Techne and the larger health innovation and care community to Minneapolis. We look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Frey to ensure Minneapolis remains a key contributor to Medical Alley’s reputation as the global epicenter of health innovation and care.
You can watch the Mayor’s full address here.
This past week, Congressman Phillips hosted a small roundtable to discuss different facets of the opioid epidemic and to better understand what is being done and where government can put its resources to be most effective. Among those in attendance was Melissa Kjolsing, CEO of Recovree, a Minnesota-based company focused on helping those in recovery from substance abuse disorder. Melissa shared the founding story of Recoveree and how they are working with employers and individuals to provide clinically-proven peer recovery coaching to improve outcomes and support the health and wellness of those impacted. She also discussed how funding for recovery services gets lost in governmental funding discussions and why that must not continue to be the case, which Congressman Philips said he would work on.
Thank you, Congressman Phillips, for taking the time to hear from those working to fight the opioid epidemic! We look forward to continuing to work with you to finding solutions for those impacted by this public health crisis.
The ongoing effort to repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax took another step forward this month when a bill to do so was introduced in the United States House of Representatives with over 220 co-sponsors. The bill, HR 2207, was introduced on April 10, 2019 by chief sponsors Democratic Rep. Ron Kind and Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski. Six members of Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation signed on as co-sponsors: Representatives Angie Craig, Jim Hagedorn, Dean Phillips, Tom Emmer, Collin Peterson, and Pete Stauber. You can read Medical Alley Association’s statement here.
Thank you to each of the members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation that signed onto the bill. We look forward to working with each of them to get this legislation signed into law and unleashing even more investment in quality of life improving and life-saving medical devices.
Back to reality. Last week the Minnesota Legislature was on break. Every year the Legislature gets one week off for spring/Easter/ Passover break, which means no official business can take place at the Capitol. This break is an opportunity for legislators to go back to their districts and hear from constituents about their ideas, priorities and legislation they want passed in the coming weeks. It’s also a much-needed break for staff to catch up and get their ducks in a row before the end of session, which believe it or not is coming in just four short weeks! The next four weeks will be filled with lengthy debates, late night conference committees and possible weekend sessions to get everything accomplished. The Legislature’s next big deadline is May 1st, and by that time we need all of our omnibus bills to be passed off the House and Senate floor and sent to their respective conference committees. The next month will be a wild one, but we’ve got you covered at At the Table. Good luck and stay caffeinated!