President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday night revealed a few things that will have some implications for Minnesotans.
While Bloomberg reports the speech didn't provide the specific policy details some were looking for, prompting a muted reaction from the financial markets, Trump's speech did confirm how he wants the government to frame important issues going forward.
GoMN has picked out a few elements of the speech, which you can read in full here, that could particularly affect Minnesota in the coming years.
Immigration changes and the VOICE office
Trump's announcement on legal immigration, which has implications for anyone planning on moving to Minnesota or bringing foreign family members over to Minnesota, could be significant.
He called for a "merit-based immigration system" similar to those in place in Canada and Australia, which would mean a switch away from "lower-skilled immigration."
He said: "It will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families, including immigrant families, enter the middle class."
CNBC reports that America hasn't had merit-based immigration since 1965, when president Lyndon Johnson changed the policy from a discretionary, merit-based system to one favoring immigrants with family ties to people already living in the U.S.
Ending that policy could mean it'll be more difficult to bring foreign spouses and family members to the U.S. unless they have a specified skill level.
Probably the most controversial announcement, one that drew gasps from some members of Congress, was the creation of the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement (VOICE) office.
This, Trump said, would be created by Homeland Security to "serve American victims" of crimes committed by immigrants in the U.S., potentially including those here legally and illegally, victims he says have been "ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests."
Details of how this would operate are sparse right now. It seems that it would support the victims of immigrant crime but the Independent reports it would also be used to keep a list of these crimes. The San Diego Union-Tribune say opponents fear such a list would be used as a propaganda tool to whip-up "anti-immigrant hysteria."
Infrastructure and budgets
Getting standing applause from House Speaker Paul Ryan – who Politico reports opposed major infrastructure investments under the previous administration – Trump pledged to continue pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild America's aging roads, bridges and transportation facilities.
But the reason Ryan appears to be more on board with this plan is that it's intended to be funded using a mixture of public and private investment, with Ryan previously stating he wants to see $40 of private spending for every $1 of public, The Hill notes.
Minnesota could use some of that money. More than half of Minnesota's roads are over 50 years old and 40 percent of its bridges are over 40 years old, according to Governor Mark Dayton.
In 2015, he said $6 billion extra was needed over the next 10 years just to close the deficit in the state's highways funding.
On a more local level, the Star Tribune reported last year that Minnesota's cities need an extra $400 million a year to improve streets.
Few details we didn't know about were revealed by Trump in terms of his budget, reiterating his plans to increase spending on defense and veterans, and promising "massive tax relief for the middle class" and corporations through future tax reform, again without many specifics being released.
Trump didn't address how he would pay for his spending, tax cut and infrastructure plans, with Reuters reporting it could add "dramatically to budget deficits." He did announce last week that government agencies like the EPA and State department would have to make budget cuts.
Healthcare and childcare
The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act has proven quite the challenge for Republicans in the six weeks since the inauguration.
They have been trying to figure out a way of keeping some of the popular tenets of the ACA, such as keeping the rule that insurers cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, at the same time as reducing the costs of individual insurance and not causing millions of people to lose their coverage.
CNBC reports Trump outlined on Tuesday five principles of what he calls a "better healthcare system," which would keep the pre-existing condition coverage rule, expand Medicaid funding and retain tax credits that reduce the costs of insurance for low-income Americans.
He wants to expand coverage through Health Savings Accounts, which provide less comprehensive insurance but allow you to save money pre-tax to use on medical bills, and he re-iterated his campaign pledge to allow people to buy health insurance from other states.
Finally, he called for a reduction in the price of prescription drugs, which Politico reports brought a cheer from Democrats.
It comes just a week after a draft of a proposed Republican healthcare bill was leaked. It contained cuts to insurance tax credits and capping Medicaid spending, two things Trump says he wants to keep or expand, NBC News reports.
On Tuesday, Trump also offered bipartisan negotiations to discuss expanding access to affordable childcare, increase paid family leave, and boost investment in women's health care.