House Commerce Committee Chair Designate Joe Atkins has announced his top ten committee topics for the 2013 legislative session. Leading the list, not surprisingly, is health insurance exchange legislation. Passage of HIE legislation has been fast tracked with the first hearing tentatively scheduled for January 22 in the House Commerce Committee.
Another topic on Chair Atkins’ list which will receive early attention is State supported gambling, including electronic pull tabs and the Minnesota Racing Commission. A hearing on that topic is preliminarily scheduled for January 16. The Committee will examine whether electronic pull tabs are poised to generate the revenue required to pay a portion of the debt for the Minnesota Vikings stadium as well as whether changes are needed to the organization and operation of the Minnesota Racing Commission.
The committee topic list also includes some highly ambitious reworking of important Minnesota laws including a major overhaul of Minnesota’s telecommunications and broadband law; a rewrite of the State’s banking and lending laws; an update to the no-fault automobile insurance statutes; and an omnibus liquor bill.
The Committee will also be taking a look at potential legislation regarding lock-outs in employee labor disputes. Currently, employees of the Minnesota Wild, the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are all locked out. The Committee will explore whether there should be a link between receipt of public funding for organizations such as these and their labor relations policies.