For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Committee work continues this week, with many long committee meetings paired with short sessions on the floor. In the Education Finance and Education Innovation Policy Committees, we heard presentations and information about teacher evaluations and student assessments.
Both are sure to be big issues in the coming months as we look at ways to make sure we're effectively gauging student achievement but not overburdening schools and teachers with unnecessary testing.
The Deficiency Bill, which includes funding to help a budget shortfall being faced by the Minnesota Zoo before the new fiscal year begins, is slated to be heard in the Ways and Means Committee on Monday, and could come to the floor for a vote as early as next week.
Today I also attended the Dakota County Regional Chamber Legislative Breakfast, where we heard from the Minnesota Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Eric Davis, who gave an overview of the state's transportation system.
Pay Increases for Commissioners
We learned this week that Governor Dayton approved more than $700,000 in pay increases for his commissioners. These pay increases were made possible by a law passed during single party control that lifted the limit on commissioner salaries and allowed the Governor to approve pay increases without legislative or public approval. The legislature was not notified until this week despite the increases being approved on January 5, 2015.
It's disappointing that at a time when families aren't seeing increased take-home pay, that the Governor would see fit to approve salary increases, some totaling more than $35,000, to commissioners already making six-figure salaries. We must attract talented and high-quality people, but we must remember that public service, and working in government is about serving the public and shouldn't expect large salaries to go with it.
Thank You Sgt. John Sommers
The Rosemount Town Pages had a great article about Sergeant John Sommers, a Rosemount Police Officer who has served for more than 29 years. Sgt. Sommers started his career in 1986 with the Rosemount Police Department. Thanks for your service Sgt. Sommers, and best of luck on your next endeavor!
HAPPENING THIS MONTH:
Black History Month
February is Black History Month, an opportunity for us to look back at the accomplishments and historical influence that black Americans have had on our country. Black History Month began in 1976, and Gerald Ford urged Americans to "honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Conservation Corps Accepting Youth Applications
The deadline for youth applications for the Conservation Corps, which is partially funded by Legacy dollars, is February 12 for their Spring Program. If you know of anyone who may be interested in working outdoors and helping out the environment, please encourage them to apply at this link.
Event with Taya Kyle
Beth El Synagogue will be hosting Taya Kyle, the wife of the late Chris Kyle, the subject of the recently-released film “American Sniper.” She will be joined by Jim DeFelice, the co-author of the American Sniper book.
If you enjoyed the movie or have read the book this might be a great event to consider attending!
Proceeds from the event will help Beth El Synagogue support
the 34th Combat Aviation Brigate, the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter, and the 204th Area Support Medical Company. Family members of those units can attend the event free of charge.
Full details of the event can be found at www.besyn.org/americansniper.
Veterans Job Fair
Reminder: Hiring Minnesota Heroes, a program by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, is holding a Military Hiring Fair next Thursday, February 12th, at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul. The event will run from 9:30AM-2PM, and is a good chance for military members to connect with employers seeking skilled workers looking to hire veterans.
The Apple Valley American Legion is hosting a Omelet Breakfast this Sunday, February 8. Kids under 2 are free, and the cost is $5 for children under 9, and $9 for adults. The event goes from 8AM-1PM and is being held at the Apple Valley American Legion at 14521 Granada Drive in Apple Valley.
Apple Valley Mid-Winter Fest
Apple Valley Mid-Winter Fest starts this Saturday, February 7th. There will be many family-friendly activities and is a chance to connect with fellow Apple Valley residents and raise awareness for the various winter programs offered by Apple Valley. For more information, please visit the City of Apple Valley website here.
On Monday, firefighters from across the state visited the Capitol. It was great chatting with members of the Apple Valley Fire Department
Also on Monday students from Rosemount High School visited to talk about clean energy and job creation. It’s great to see students involved at the Capitol.
On Tuesday, several constituents visited to talk about using a passport in order to obtain a drivers license.
Later that day, staff from District 196 came to discuss education priorities for our school district.
If you or a group you’re a part of is planning to visit the Capitol, please contact me to set up a meeting. My door is open and I enjoy hearing from you. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-4306.
It’s an honor to serve you at the legislature. Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 57B
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