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In This Edition:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature has completed their work with a new state budget for Fiscal Years 18 and 19 signed into law, as well as a significant tax relief bill, a historic transportation improvement package and many other vital legislative actions completed.
Please join me for a post-session Town Hall I am hosting this Thursday, June 15th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eden Prairie Library in the large meeting room for an overview of the work completed this year. After a brief update, I will respond to questions in an informal format. I always look forward to these conversations as an opportunity to stay connected to the citizens of Eden Prairie and to learn more about your priorities and concerns. I hope you will be able to join me Thursday night!
The 2017 Legislative Session will be remembered as one of the most productive in recent history. We passed federal tax conformity the first week we convened in January and tackled some significant reforms in the individual health insurance market. We also completed a state budget that was signed into law, reduced taxes on Minnesotans by over $650 million, and enacted a comprehensive transportation package that will invest $6 billion into improving our road and bridge infrastructure over the next 10 years. The Legislature addressed the major priorities of Minnesotans, finding common ground with Governor Dayton, taking action on these and many other important initiatives. I was pleased to author the Education Finance Omnibus bill, providing stable funding to all of our public schools while requiring robust reforms to help improve the educational success of all of Minnesota’s children. In addition, a real “meat and potatoes” capital investment or bonding bill was passed to invest nearly a billion dollars in Minnesota’s infrastructure, including many road and bridge projects across the state, improvements to our state colleges and university buildings, upgrades to our veteran’s homes, and many other priority projects. The railroad crossing near Eden Prairie High School will be getting some safety upgrades as part of this bill, and I was pleased to secure this important funding to help ensure we will never have another tragedy at this crossing in our city.
To read my article published in last Thursday’s Eden Prairie News recapping the highlights of the 2017 session, please go here.
I am honored to be serving another term as Chair of the Education Finance Committee in the Minnesota House. In that role, I was proud to sponsor legislation that puts Minnesota kids first. The bill agreed upon includes $1.35 billion in increased funding for students and schools over the current biennium, including a 2 percent increase to the per pupil funding formula each year. In addition to putting more money into every classroom, we also included a number of key policy changes to improve student learning and tackle our state’s achievement gap. We fund new extended time programs and provide additional funding for scholarships which go directly to families to find quality early learning programs. We also overhaul our broken teacher licensure system and repeal the “last in, first out” default in state statute, allowing schools and local bargaining units to negotiate mutually beneficial staff retention decisions that better serve students, teachers and schools. In all, I think this year’s education bill is a win for Minnesota kids. The Star Tribune recently published an editorial praising the reforms achieved in our education bill. You can read this editorial here.
A Few Photos from Session at the Capitol
At the working group hearing for House File 2, the Education Omnibus Finance Bill I authored, with Senator Carla Nelson
Receiving my Civil Air Patrol membership certificate from Col. Brent Halweg
With Public Works Director Robert Ellis testifying on the Eden Prairie pedestrian rail crossing project that was included in the bonding bill this session
With constituents David Ziegler and Marilynn Torkelson talking about clean water
Congratulations to all of the young men and women of Eden Prairie graduating from high school! This is an exciting time in your lives and I wish you great success as you embark on your future plans. For all Eden Prairie students, enjoy your summer vacation and don’t forget to read some great books!
Calling Bingo at EP Schooner Days for the EP Lions
Also, I had a great time calling bingo at the Schooner Days celebration sponsored by the Eden Prairie Lions recently. Thanks to the Lions and many service organizations that make Eden Prairie a special place to live! I hope to see you at additional events around our beautiful community in the coming weeks.
Finally, while the Legislature is out of session, as always I hope you will continue to contact me with your questions, comments and suggestions.
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