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State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-7807

For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955

Posted: Apr 29 2015 10:08AM
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E-Update

Legislative Update - April 29, 2015


Dear friends,
 
It’s been a busy week at the Capitol and we’ve been hearing many budget bills on the House Floor. We have heard the omnibus transportation bill, omnibus jobs & energy bill, omnibus environment bill, omnibus state government finance bill, omnibus higher education bill and the omnibus E-12 (early childhood-high school) education bill. Today we are hearing the omnibus public safety bill and omnibus health and human services bill. We will be hearing the omnibus tax bill today and omnibus agriculture bill later this week, along with a variety of other miscellaneous legislation. Each of these bills contain funding for state priorities, and debate on these bills takes many hours. Aside from our floor sessions, I want to provide an update on other interesting things happening with my work and the legislature:
 
National Institute for Civil Discourse Training Session
Last weekend, I attended the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) training session in Tucson, Arizona with fellow legislators. NICD seeks to promote bipartisan, civil discourse in state legislatures all across the country. At the training session, we learned how to facilitate workshops in our home states for the “Next Generation” program, which has the goal of creating and strengthening relationships across the aisle through mutual trust based on compassionate communication.
 
We began the session by discussing what events in our lives have shaped us into the people we are today, especially within the political realm. What made you into the person you are today, and what shaped your political viewpoints? It was interesting to reflect on the events in my life that impacted me politically and formed the policy positions I hold today. For instance, many in my generation share the JFK assassination as a moment when our political views formed, but those views may not all be the same. It is important to recognize that someone’s political beliefs are always a reflection of life experiences. Understanding the origin of someone else’s political beliefs is the foundation of being able to cooperate on issues and building trust and understanding.
 
In today’s political atmosphere of partisanship and gridlock, it is more important than ever that we make a concerted effort to understand differing political views and to find common ground.
 
I am working to bring the NICD workshop to Minnesota this summer for both GOP and DFL leadership and to incorporate the workshop into future mandatory trainings for new and returning legislators.
 
ISAIAH
I recently had the pleasure of attending a meeting with ISAIAH in our district. ISAIAH is a faith-based organization that seeks to create positive social change within Minnesota. Their tireless advocacy of fairness and equality of opportunity is a welcome contribution to our political sphere, and I applaud their efforts to make Minnesota a more equitable state. We discussed the necessity of building a transportation network in Minnesota that is built to last and helps to create economic opportunity for everyone in our state. We also discussed ways to integrate politically marginalized groups into our state’s political discourse, and to ensure that every Minnesotan’s voice is heard. ISAIAH members are driven by faith to work on policy issues that help the poor and advance economic equality. To check out their full platform, visit: http://www.isaiah-mn.org/.
 
Minnesota Youth Council (MYC)
The Minnesota Youth Council Committee held their third and final legislative meeting of the 2015 session on Friday, April 17th. The youth members heard testimony on four bills:

SF473 (Senator Eric Pratt) on teacher licensure, with additional testimony from Minneapolis City Councilmember Don Samuels and Jim Bartholomew from the Minnesota Business Partnership,
HF391 (Rep. Dean Urdahl) on voter pre-registration for 17 year olds,
SF994 (Senator Ron Latz) on juvenile justice provisions, with testimony from Sarah Davis of the Legal Rights Center, and Chris Land, U of M Law student.
HF197 (Rep. Tim Miller) on school board authorization of flexible learning year programs.
 
MYC engages young people with the political process and partners adults and youth to advocate for youth issues. Learn more about MYC here: https://mnyouth.net/work/council/. Aonat "A.P." Popoola and Zach Correia, both Woodbury students, are representatives to MYC and were recently featured in the Woodbury Bulletin.
 
Invasive Plant of the Week
This week’s invasive plant species is Poison Hemlock. It is a biennial herbaceous plant in the carrot family that grows 3-8 inches tall. It has small, triangular leaves, and blooms with small white flowers from May-August. It typically grows in wet areas and along roads. As the name suggests, poison hemlock is highly toxic to humans, and should not be ingested or handled with bare hands. If found, poison hemlock can be removed by pulling it out of the ground, wearing gloves. It is important to make sure the root is removed, or else it may grow back. If seen, it should be reported for eradication to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) emailing "Arrest the Pest" to arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or calling 651-201-6684 (metro) or 1-888-545-6684 FREE (toll-free),
 
http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/udata/r9ndp23q/white/poison-hemlock_0701_085312.jpg
 
As always, please contact me anytime with comments, concerns or questions. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-7807 or by email at rep.joann.ward@house.mn. I also invite you to “Like” my Facebook page to learn more about happenings at the Capitol and around our community. You can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensForJoAnnWard?ref=hl.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
JoAnn Ward

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn