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Posted: May 8 2015 11:21AM
Legislative Update - May 8, 2015
Campaign Finance Reform Needed
We should be working to increase disclosure, because under Campaign Finance regulations, spending on certain types of political ads is not required to be disclosed to the public. So these organizations are able to get their publicity out without the public knowing who paid for what. Representative Winkler has offered a bill to correct this, but the Republican Majority has unfortunately blocked this proposal each time it has been offered.
In addition, the House Republican Majority is supporting legislation that will entirely do away with restrictions on contributions and increase campaign spending. This is about big money impacting our government and elections. This is a danger to our democratic form of government—and I am advocating against these changes.
House Education Proposals
The House Education Bill only has a .6% increase on the funding formula. School districts in 51A as well as around the state are saying this is not enough, and they will have to layoff teachers. In my survey, a high percentage of respondents said the surplus should be used to reduce class sizes.
The Higher Education Bill upends the progress we made in slowing a decade if increasing in tuition and debt. It doesn’t continue the tuition freeze at either of Minnesota’s public university systems, doesn’t contain tuition assistance for students at the University of Minnesota, and raids more than $50 million from the State Grant program.
Burnsville Robotics Banquet
I enjoyed the Burnsville Robotics Year-End Banquet at Burnsville High School. They did a great job this year and had a lot to celebrate. I was particularly impressed that each team member, students and adults alike, was recognized for a particular trait or action that contributed to the team’s efforts.
“Singing for Freedom”
I attended a very entertaining performance on Sundayafternoon at the Minnesota History Center. It was about a famous musical family with a Minnesota connection. It was created by Dan Chouinard, Jeff Raz, and Jordan Sramek.
“Singing for Freedom” is a story about the Hutchinson Family Singers, a group from New Hampshire. This family sang songs that advocated for the abolishment of slavery. They even performed at the White House for President Tyler, who happened to be a slave holder. After that experience, they decided their songs needed to be more aggressive. In 1855, three of the brothers invested in land in Minnesota and founded Hutchinson, Minnesota. The Rose Ensemble, Maria Jette, T. Mychael Rambo and Dan Chouinard did a marvelous job in presenting the story and the songs that were sung in the mid-1800’s.
Audio & Video