For more information contact: Bennett Smith 651-296-6422
Congratulations to Kaemella Foster for receiving the Comcast Leaders & Achievers Scholarship. Kaemalla will be attending Bethune-Cookman University next fall.
With Carin Mrotz and Protect Minnesota speaking out against gun violence at the We Stand Against 'Stand Your Ground' Rally
Grand Opening of the Hennepin County Library-Webber Park
There are three days remaining for the 2017 legislative session and a budget solution seems elusive. All budget issues remain unresolved with the exception of agriculture. Republicans have been unwilling to stay at the negotiating table with Governor Mark Dayton and meet in the middle.
Legislative Republicans are holding out for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, while Governor Dayton is working to fully fund E-12 and higher education, and prevent proposed Republican cuts to many of the things Minnesotans value.
Last week, Republicans walked away from negotiations with Governor Dayton. The governor warned Republicans he would veto their inadequate budget bills stuffed with controversial policy, but they moved ahead alone. Governor Dayton’s compromises have largely gone unanswered, but it does seem there is a possible late compromise evolving as of Friday afternoon. It would still be difficult to finish by the deadline on Monday from a logistical standpoint, considering the amount of time it takes the Revisor’s Office to draft the language for the bills.
On Tuesday, the teacher licensure bill passed out of the Minnesota House. This bill lessens Minnesota’s rigorous teaching standards, which have allowed us to build a nation leading education system. This is the biggest change to our teacher licensure process in decades and is very controversial.
The bill would have relaxed licensing requirements and let school districts change their process for renewing licenses. It would have paved the way for retired teachers with out-of-state teaching licenses to teach in Minnesota without any formal training.
Yesterday, Governor Dayton vetoed the bill and his reasons for this are that the new board is unfunded; allows for licensure without requiring any training; and does not require cultural competency training. You can read Governor Dayton’s veto letter with details here.
Clean REAL ID
The clean REAL ID bill passed the Minnesota legislature on Wednesday and was signed into law yesterday. The bill was free of controversial immigration language and retains two current options for driver’s licenses/identification cards: an enhanced driver’s license or a non-compliant license or identification card.
You may find Public Information Services’ coverage here.
Area News and Upcoming Events
Hennepin County Library-Webber Park Grand Opening
Yesterday was the grand opening for the Webber Park Library.
Tomorrow, the library will host a community celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Events will include performances by the Hopewell Music Cooperative North, a community-based organization that provides quality music lessons for kids, a visit with a naturalist and a community bike ride. In addition, kids and adults can explore the new library, check out the early literacy and school-age play and learn spaces, try STEM activities and take a walk on the Story Stroll outside.
MET Council’s Public Event for Comment on Proposed Transit Fare Increase
The Metropolitan Council is seeking public input on a proposal to raise transit fares in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Transit officials are inviting feedback and testimony on two basic scenarios for regular route transit – including light rail, local bus, express bus, A Line, and Northstar – increases of 25 cents or 50 cents.
Learn more about the full proposal.
You can comment on the proposed transit fares increases by June 26 doing the following:
Public hearings are opportunities for people to offer formal public testimony – delivered orally or in writing - on the proposed increase to regional transit fares. There will also be information about the proposed fare increase available, and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the proposal and its impact prior to the public hearing and after the close of the hearing.
Wednesday, May 31: Noon to 1 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library, Doty Board Room
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Served by many regional transit routes
Public meetings will be like traditional open houses, with information about the proposed fare increase available, and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the proposal and its impact. People will be able to offer public comment, though there will be no formal opportunity to offer testimony at the public meetings.
Tuesday, June 13: 6 to 7 p.m.
North Regional Library, Meeting Room
1315 Lowry Ave. N., Minneapolis
Served by regional transit routes 5 and 32
Save the date: Capitol Grand Opening
After four years and a $310 million restoration, the Minnesota State Capitol is now open to the public. Our beautiful Capitol has been returned to its former glory and is ready for the next 100 years!
To commemorate this special occasion and to invite Minnesotans back to the People’s House, there will be a Grand Opening Celebration held on August 11, 12, and 13. The celebration will have something for everyone – fireworks, concerts, demonstrations by the artisans that worked on the restoration, behind the scenes tours, and much more. With featured events to entertain Minnesotans of all ages from all corners of the state, the Grand Opening weekend will be, educational, interactive and, most of all, FUN! Most of the events are free, or offered at a very low cost.
Please mark your calendars and plan to celebrate the People’s House this summer!
MN CREP Sign-Up
MN CREP sign-up is here! Starting May 15, 2017, landowners have a new option to protect environmentally sensitive land: the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP).
The new MN CREP is a voluntary federal-state conservation program that will protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties, using buffer strips, wetland restoration and drinking water wellhead protection.
Landowners who are accepted in MN CREP will enroll in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 14-15 years. At the same time, the land will be put into a permanent conservation easement through the state’s Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve easement program. Private ownership continues and the land is restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits.
I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
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