For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520
It was a busy week, with legislative duties having me split time between St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
The quick, mid-week trip to D.C. was to represent our state at a joint meeting of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. Discussions included the federal farm bill, with a special emphasis on conservation initiatives in the farm bill. The event included an opportunity to speak with my former Minnesota House colleague and current U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer.
Tuesday was a big day at the Capitol, with days pertaining to both student safety and Future Farmers of America taking place. As chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee and a farmer myself, FFA is near and dear to me. I always enjoy meeting with FFA students to discuss issues that are important to them and, in fact, I have personally authored bills which became law that aim to advance ag education. In addition to meeting with FFA students in the Capitol complex, I also was pleased to attend the 2018 FFA Agricultural Policy Experience Legislative Reception. Once again, it was a pleasure to interact with FFA students and I think we all came away with some new insights.
Student safety is an ongoing issue and Tuesday was Student Safety Day in the House as we highlighted efforts in this area. A number of committee hearings took place to address this topic. This included reviewing last year’s $405,000 investment in the School Safety Center, part of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The Safety Center conducts 200 training sessions around the state each year and provides recommendations for school safety assessments, threat assessments that can help identify red flags and behavioral clues, intruder responses, and access controls to better secure our schools. House members also introduced legislation allowing schools to use the long-term facilities maintenance revenue program for school facility safety.
Again, this is an ongoing issue and we will be looking at a wide range of solutions to ensure safety in our schools.
Stay tuned on these and other developments from the Capitol. It’s hard to believe this session already is 25 percent complete, so time will be precious as we make our way toward adjournment in late May.
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