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Election Impact—New Political Landscape

Wednesday, December 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
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2017 is likely to be one of the most important legislative sessions in history for substance use disorder (SUD) services in Minnesota. Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) reform efforts, shifting Federal regulations, workforce shortages, regulatory burdens, increasing overdose deaths, unsustainable rate structures, and many other issues require attention and leadership. MARRCH intends to be at the forefront of legislative strategies to protect and enhance the ability of our members to serve clients, and ensure Minnesota continues to be a leader in providing quality care and access to care for those in need.

Election Impact—New Political Landscape

The flip of the state senate was a surprise to many. With a new Republican majority, structures and leadership will be changing for committees very important to MARRCH members. MARRCH and our stakeholder partners have been working hard to learn this new “lay of the land,” and what it will mean for the various initiatives important to our field.

In the Senate, the most important committee for SUD issues will be Health and Human Services Reform Policy and Finance, chaired by Senator Abler of Anoka; the committee members have yet to be assigned.

As for the House, it remains in Republican control, with Representative Dean as the Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, and Representative Schomacker as the new Chair of the Health and Human Services Reform Committee.

MARRCH and our broader stakeholder group have strong relationships in both the Senate and House, and will work to ensure both bodies are supportive of our initiatives.

MARRCH Legislative Initiatives

Through stakeholder feedback from our regions, caucus sessions at the fall conference, and input from our Board of Governors, MARRCH has identified numerous areas of interest and concern from our members:

  • DHS Reform Package
  • Need For Rate Increase
  • Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion/Access to Residential Care
  • Paperwork Reduction/Simplification
  • Parity (Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act)
  • Student Loan Forgiveness
  • Background Studies
  • Naloxone Access

MARRCH recognizes that while all of these areas are important, prioritization and achievability will dictate which items get introduced through formal legislation. As we navigate the political landscape these next few months, we will have a better sense of which items will be pushed forward in 2017. Please reach out to MARRCH by emailing Patrick Lobejko at to provide us feedback on areas you believe should be prioritized.

What You Can Do To Help

NOW: While specific legislation has not yet been drafted, now is a great time to reach out to your local Senator, Representative, and the Governor’s office to let them know that quality SUD treatment is a key issue to you as a voter, and ask them what they are doing to support the issue.

How to find your local representative & senator:
This interactive tool allows you to simply type in your zip code to determine how best to reach your local state representative and senator.

How to contact the Governor’s office:
By Mail: 116 Veterans Service Building 
              20 W 12th Street 
              St. Paul, MN 55155
By Email:
By Phone: 800-657-3717 

DURING SESSION: The legislative session kicks off on January 3rd, and will run through May 22nd. As specific legislation is drafted, look for notices from MARRCH to get involved with:

  • Rallies at the Capitol, including Recovery Day
  • Mailing Campaigns
  • Support During Committee Testimony
  • Continued calls and emails to your Legislators
  • Motivating others to show support

Politicians don’t know what issues are important unless they hear it directly from their voters. As a MARRCH member and concerned citizen, you have the ability to play a critical role in this year’s legislative session and support a stronger system of SUD care within our great state.

If you have any questions before MARRCH’s next legislative communication, please reach out to Bob Rohret, MARRCH Executive Director at:  and

1000 Westgate Drive,
Suite 252
St. Paul, MN 55114
P: 651.290.7462
F: 651.290.2266

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