MOUND — Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, is serving his second term in the Minnesota Senate, representing District 33.
Lakeshore Weekly News contacted Osmek to ask him a few questions about the legislative session, which ended May 25 after a special session.
How was it serving in a divided legislature?
Every session presents its own challenges and this year was no different. Bills that passed the Senate by wide bipartisan margins were dismissed by the House DFL. That level of partisan rancor in the House does not serve Minnesotans well.
What progress did you as a legislator make
in work on the
I voted against the opioid bill, not because it wasn’t a good idea, but because of how we are going to fund it. The vast majority of people who are prescribed these drugs are not causing the problem but the bill creates a huge license fee that will be passed onto patients who are largely not the problem. If this is a Minnesota problem, we should be using our General Fund to pay for it, not a small minority.
What progress did you as a legislator make in work on gun control?
Gun measures in the DFL House were not common sense and did not pass. The “Red Flag” law would have created seizure rules that would have seriously impacted your 4th Amendment rights. As I said all session, I will only support measures that are supported by both gun control and 2nd Amendment supporters.
How do you feel about how the gas tax ended in the Legislature?
The proposed 20 cent gas tax by the House DFL and Gov. Walz was absolutely unnecessary. In the 2017 session, the GOP-led House and Senate created a new revenue stream from existing sources that will provide almost $1.3 billion in new money for roads and bridges over the next five years. The DFL tax increase would have struck everyone directly in the wallet and led to higher consumer prices, to name a few of the impacts. Minnesotans want their government to live within its means and use its money more wisely.
Is Minnesota’s government doing enough to mitigate climate change?
Minnesota has already done a good job of improving our environment and protecting our natural resources. Good measures to make improvements were dismissed by the House DFL, such as helping the Prairie Island become the first net-zero tribal community in the nation. The House DFL demanded an extremist plan that would have caused your electric rates to skyrocket and led to grid instability. As co-chair of the Legislative Energy Commission, I will be bringing all stakeholders to the table this summer to work on Minnesota’s energy future and renewable energy has a place at that table.
Would you change Minnesota’s health care system? Why or why not? Do you support Medicare
The first problem the legislature has is all the mandates we make on insurance coverage in Minnesota. The more we mandate, the higher the price. I believe it’s time to review every mandate and evaluate the costs versus the benefits. And while I appreciate the Provider Tax reduction from 2% to 1.8%, we had a chance to eliminate this sick tax. Did you know that much of that tax does not go to healthcare, but into the General Fund?
I am strongly against “Medicare for All,” because it will ultimately lead to rationed healthcare. What most people don’t know is that Medicare pays providers a “reimbursement rate,” which can be as little as 20 cents on the dollar. Providers can not afford to provide care when they are literally losing money on Medicare patients.
Why do you believe the Minnesota Legislature ends up in special session so frequently?
Unfortunately this happens because the government does not act until the clock forces us to. Even changing the deadlines did not help this year. But this is a representative republic in action, and even though it might take some overtime, we get the job done.