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For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955
Posted: Apr 27 2015 5:07PM
Legislative Update - April 27, 2015
After a busy weekend of voting on legislation, the House is still working hard to finish out the session productively. Here is an update on what has been going on.
I attended a program titled Navigating the Northwest Passage & Activating Political Will this morning. First, David Thorson gave a presentation about his trips through the Northwest Passage, an all-water passage that links Europe to Asia. In 1994, they finally abandoned completing the trip when the ice made sailing impossible. The trip a few years ago was successful and there was virtually no ice. He has some great photos of the voyage.
Joseph Robertson of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby then talked about a policy advocating a Carbon Fee and Dividend. “This is a policy proposal to internalize the costs of burning carbon-base fuels.” He said this policy ultimately reduces emissions and stimulates the economy. British Columbia has this policy and managed to avoid the recession that most of us went through. For more details, please see: www.citizensclimatelobby.org
They will be doing this program tonight at 6:30-8:30 at the Student Center Theater on the UMN St. Paul Campus, 2017 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108.
House Education Bill and Rally
I have been receiving numerous messages regarding the House Education Bill. The primary concerns brought up were the large class sizes that already exist and the potential layoffs that will take place if HF 844 is passed.
I have also received many messages opposing the refund checks that have been advertised recently. The request is for the state to keep the money and spend it on education, transportation and needed infrastructure.
On Saturday, after almost five hours of discussion, the Education Bill did pass on a near party-line basis. A Minority Report was presented by the DFL members and that failed to get enough votes to pass and was tabled. The Minority Report had more money for the funding than did the bill that passed Saturday and I voted for that bill.
House District 51A has three school districts, #191, #196, and #197. All three districts have said they need about 3% on the funding formula to avoid making cuts to their staff. I am hearing the same from districts throughout Minnesota. HF 844 has .6% increase. By not even keeping pace with inflation, HF 844 is a proposal for layoffs, larger class sizes, and less access for early education- that is not the direction we should be going in Minnesota.
In a letter to House leadership, Superintendent Gothard of the Burnsville, Eagan, Savage School District closed with the following, “With a near 2 billion dollar surplus, I cannot imagine a greater investment than added funds to our schools. Today’s children and young adults are our future leaders, workforce and caretakers. You have a unique opportunity to invest in our ability to ensure their success.” I agree.
This weekend, I attended a rally for education at the Capitol. Jane Berenz, the superintendent of District 196 in Eagan, was in attendance, as well as Matt Klein. More than one hundred parents, teachers, school administrators, and kids flooded the State Capitol to urge legislators to vote against the Republican education budget that will force teacher layoffs and larger class sizes. It was great to see so many people passionate about education, and willing to voice their concerns with the education bill.
Please contact me anytime during the legislative session with your input. I can be reached by phone at (651) 296-3533 or by email at email@example.com