MN Legislative Session Begins Tomorrow

The 2020 Minnesota legislative session begins tomorrow, February 11. Our legislative rep Dave Renner, CAE, shares an update on what to expect.

Session Timing & Focus

Session is expected to get off to a speedy start, as this is the second, shorter year of the biennium; it will conclude no later than May 19, 2020.

This year, the primary work before the Legislature will be consideration of policy proposals, as last year saw lawmakers craft a two-year budget.

Legislators will also work to pass a bonding bill. Bonding is the process by which the state, municipalities, counties, universities and colleges and other public entities fund large capital projects. Bonding bills are always interesting to watch, as they are one of the only legislative actions that require a supermajority. As such, they are often fodder for interesting deal-making.

Scope of Practice for PAs & PharmDs

In addition to the MAFP priorities set by the Board of Directors (see our 2020 Minnesota Legislative Session Preview), we are monitoring a number of bills that could change the scope of practice of non-physician providers.

Legislation to drastically expand the scope of practice for physician assistants (PAs) was introduced last year (SF 2043). It is being promoted as legislation to remove unnecessary paperwork and administrative barriers to practice, but the implications are further reaching. The MAFP will advocate that PAs continue as a valuable part of the health care team, while ensuring that patient protections remain.

Legislation has also been introduced to allow pharmacists (PharmDs) to prescribe a limited number of medications (HF 2635), i.e., oral hormonal contraceptives, tobacco and nicotine cessation medications and opiate antagonists. This legislation was introduced by MAFP members Rep. Alice Mann, MD, MPH (DFL-Lakeville), and Sen. Scott Jensen, MD (R-Chaska). This would be the first area in law that would authorize pharmacists to prescribe without some form of physician directive or protocol.

The Physician Caucus

Two of Minnesota’s four physician legislators have announced their intention to not seek reelection in November. Both are MAFP members and first-term legislators, Rep. Alice Mann, MD, MPH (DFL – Lakeville), and Sen. Scott Jensen, MD (R – Chaska). In their announcements, they cited the challenges in balancing their work at the Capitol with caring for their patients and families.

The two other physician legislators, Rep. Kelly Morrison, MD (DFL – Deephaven), an OB/GYN, and Sen. Matt Klein, MD (DFL – Sunfish Lake), an internal medicine hospitalist, are seeking reelection.

These four physician legislators became known as the “physician caucus.” They’ve been influential members of the Legislature and taken leadership roles on health care. Mann and Jensen, for example, successfully carried legislation in 2019 to license and regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Mann and Jensen were, then, joined by Morrison and Klein on the conference committee that crafted the final PBM licensure bill that became law last year.

Reports indicate that several other physicians have announced or are considering campaigns for the Minnesota House or Senate in the upcoming election.

Take Action: Attend the Day at the Capitol, March 4

Make plans to join your physician colleagues from across the state at the annual Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) Day at the Capitol on March 4. The MAFP is a co-sponsor of the event.

In addition to updates from the MMA’s advocacy team, the day will feature visits from legislative leaders and the opportunity for you to directly lobby your elected officials on the issues that impact you and your patients.

Physicians and physicians-in-training have tremendous credibility with legislators. There is no more important advocacy event than Day at the Capitol!

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Posted by:

  • Jami Burbidge, MAM, director of advocacy & engagement, @jami_burbidge
  • Emie Buege, communications

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