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News from Rep. Peggy Bennett 10-06-2017
With autumn officially upon us, I hope you’re able to get outside to enjoy the fall colors—winter will be here before we know it! I wanted to send along a quick update on some of the meetings and legislative issues I’ve been working on over the past few weeks.
Child Protection Task Force
I continue as a member the joint Senate and House Legislative Task Force on Child Protection, where I serve as Vice Chair. This task force is charged with overseeing the implementation of the 93 recommendations made by the Governor’s Task Force in 2014, with the goal of revamping our child protection system and ensuring that our system is adequately protecting Minnesota kids. The task force met this past Tuesday in St. Paul. We heard testimony from the Department of Human Services and others as to their progress in implementing the Governor’s Task Force recommendations. One difficult problem involves the tightening of child protection intake guidelines which has resulted in more children that need foster care and social services. That presents a new dilemma for our state, which has already been seeing critical worker shortages in so many fields, including social workers and foster care families. There is definitely a lot more work ahead in the area of child protection!
I met with a number of officials from the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday to discuss potential legislation related to our hospital issue in Albert Lea. One piece of legislation I am working on with them would allow for a health impact study when major health services are discontinued. This type of study would examine the potential impact on an area when major health services are changed, and could be a valuable tool for both communities and hospitals. At the same meeting, we also discussed other potential legislation I am exploring, including possible revisions to the hospital construction moratorium statute, as well as ways to help reduce the unreasonably high health insurance costs in southeastern Minnesota. I will continue to work closely with the Department of Health and others so that I can have legislation ready to go by the start of session on February 20th.
Last week I was on another three-day state tour viewing potential bonding projects with my Capital Investment Committee colleagues. This time we traveled to the northeast portion of our state - a beautiful drive up through Duluth, along the north shore, and then into the Minnesota Iron Range. As a history lover, some of my favorite stops were historical sites like Split Rock Lighthouse, the Glensheen Mansion, and the historic Duluth train depot. Did you know that you can walk through Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train car there? Pretty cool!
We visited colleges, rode ATVs to view an ATV trail, took a short train ride in an historic train car built by a Minnesota steel tycoon over 100 years ago, viewed DNR firefighting planes at their base in Hibbing, hiked up a potential extreme mountain bike trail in Cohasset, walked on the Black Beach in Silver Bay, and even got a glimpse of the thousands of earth core samples at the Hibbing DNR Core Library - some samples even 100 years old. It was quite the trip. Like I've mentioned before, we live in a pretty amazing state!
Big Island Rendezvous
The Big Island Rendezvous is this weekend in Albert Lea, my very favorite event in our area! I love to walk around (with Colter too, of course!) and check out the historic reenactments, period dress, and good food and music. I will be there rain or shine (hoping for “shine” though!) and hope to see you there too!
As always, please don’t hesitate to call or email my office if I can be of help or if you have comments, concerns or questions.
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