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State Representative Matt Bliss

529 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-5516

For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520

Posted: 2017-10-12
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Legislative Update

News update


Dear Neighbor,

I want to pass along a quick reminder that public meetings regarding the proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement project will take place Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Bemidji. Meetings will be 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Sanford Center (1111 Event Center Drive).

Reports indicate the project received strong support during a similar meeting at Grand Rapids on Wednesday. I plan on testifying in Bemidji and will talk about the economic advantages and public safety benefits. This is a big issue in our area and I encourage local residents to attend and provide input as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission prepares to make a decision on the replacement proposal next spring.

The current Line 3 is 50 years old and the federal government (under the Obama administration) mandated replacement. The new route would pass through our region as it runs between Alberta and Superior, Wis. Here is a link to more on the public meetings, including a full schedule in case you are unable to attend in Bemidji next week.

On another subject, we received news this week that our state has been granted a grace period by the federal Department of Homeland Security, ensuring Minnesota driver’s licenses can continue to be used for boarding flights and entering federal buildings until at least Jan. 22, 2018. This announcement came Tuesday, the same day a previous extension expired.

The state is in the process of implementing the new system to come into compliance with increased federal ID standards geared toward upholding public safety. The Legislature passed a Real ID bill (House File 3) earlier this year and it was signed into law.

The upshot is Minnesotans can go ahead with their flight plans and continue to enter federal facilities with their state IDs. We are confident that Homeland Security will continue working with us until the Real ID-compliant licenses are available to Minnesotans.

I also want to pass along word that area families may qualify to receive a portion of the historic $20.7 million in early learning scholarship funding the Legislature provided in an education finance package enacted earlier this year.

Families with children ages 3 to 5 may be eligible to receive scholarships of up to $7,500 per child, per year, to help pay for high-quality child care and early education to help them prepare for school.

The Minnesota Department of Education indicates early learning scholarships must be used at a Parent Aware-rated program. This may apply to a licensed family child care; child care center, Head Start program, preschool, or school-based pre-kindergarten program.

These scholarships are designed to assist people who need it most, so I encourage local families to take a look and see if they qualify. The early years are very important to a child’s development and these scholarships are geared toward building a good foundation for success.

Here are phone numbers for organizations chosen to administer the scholarships in District 5A counties:

  • Beltrami, Cass and Hubbard counties: Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, Inc. (218) 632-3600
  • Itasca county: Northland Foundation (320) 433-4045

Good luck to those who look into applying for scholarships and I hope this info helps.

Sincerely,

Matt

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