For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
State of the State Delivered
This week I helped escort Governor Mark Dayton to the State of the State address in the House Chambers. However, because of the Governor's ongoing hip problems, he entered through the side door behind the Speaker's dais rather than through the traditional double doors of the chamber, making a governor's entry less dramatic than in the past.
I hope the Governor's health improves as I could see pain in his face as he struggled from the elevator of Second Floor to the retiring room of the House chamber.
Two local residents, Vicki Angstman and Diane Lien, were my guests as was Maylana Sikkink, a Milaca high school junior working as a House page this week. All are concerned about the dramatic tax increases and other burdens that have been placed on job creators during the two years of complete Democrat control.
One point that Governor Dayton made in his speech really surprised me: he lamented the number of tests students in upper grade levels must take. I find it interesting that he complained about this new policy which he signed into law last year. Again, I think the Governor confirmed that he does not read the bills sent to him for signature.
National Day of Prayer Observed
On the first Thursday of May the nation observes National Day of Prayer and the state did as well. Following floor session, legislators attended a prayer service in the rotunda.
As a veteran legislator, I prepared a House Resolution to honor our day of prayer and read it at the ceremony. If you want to read the resolution, you can view it by clicking here.
Newborn screening bill raises privacy questions
This is a bill I truly hope the Governor reads carefully. This week the House passed a newborn screening bill that raises serious questions about data privacy and state use of blood samples for newborns.
Under the proposed legislation, the Department of Health can keep blood samples indefinitely unless parents actively opt out and have the blood samples destroyed.
I believe this bill represents significant government overreach into the lives of our newborn babies, and while well-intentioned, should have been crafted in a way that more actively protects private health data and allows parents better options for the testing of newborns for various diseases and ailments.
DNA and blood sample data belong to us and to us alone. I think there are limits that could have been imposed that restricted government's ability to keep and store blood sample information while still allowing for these life-saving tests.
The ACLU has spoken against this bill due to these privacy concerns, and while I support newborn screening in the interest of saving lives, I ultimately could not reconcile the fundamental privacy questions, and voted no.
Next week the House is expected to debate the bonding bill and act on several bills that have been in conference committee over the past several days. I will be sure to send along an update as we wrap up the 2014 legislative session. If you have questions, please contact 651-296-6746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,
State Representative District 15A
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