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For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Posted: May 19 2015 5:20PM
News from Representative Wills 05-19-2015
We were hard at work in Saint Paul throughout this weekend, putting in many late nights and long hours. It's such an honor to be here working for you, and I'm reminded even at the early hours of the morning how lucky I am to represent our community and work for you in Saint Paul.
Over the weekend legislative leaders agreed to and the legislature passed a bipartisan budget agreement. Monday night, the GOP House and the DFL Senate passed their compromise budget bills and sent them to Governor Dayton.
There are more parts of the budget than one email update can cover, so I will focus on education, since it's been the main center of focus.
The education budget includes $400 million in increased funding for our schools. About 72% of that is for per-pupil funding increases, with much of the remainder going to early learning scholarships and other programs proven to be effective in closing the achievement gap.
Some of the bills I worked on that were included in the final bill include:
HF964 - Implementing recommendations from the Office of the Legislative Auditor regarding Special Education.
HF567 - Increased flexibility for schools in using their compensatory funding.
HF568 - $3.5 million increase for Reading Corps, a program I've discussed on several occasions that has a proven track record of improving reading skills and learning, especially for at-risk students.
Part of compromise means no side gets everything they want. The House and Senate both showed great bipartisan willingness to compromise and come together to pass our budget on time and finish the work Minnesotans sent us here to do.
It's extremely disappointing that the Governor is playing partisan games and vetoing the bipartisan education bill that prioritizes students and targets our early learners who need our help. Minnesotans are tired of the partisan political games in Saint Paul and I think were relieved when the House and Senate came to a bipartisan agreement. Both sides were compromising and doing the work Minnesotans sent us here to do. The legislature adjourned the 2015 Session at midnight last night, but, unfortunately, the Governor is now sending us into a special session that will be costly for taxpayers and bring anxiety to many Minnesotans.
I will have more to send along regarding the special session and the remaining budget bills in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4306.
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Have a great week,
State Representative, District 57B
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