For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
It was an extremely busy week in Saint Paul. The House passed more than two dozen bills in all, completing a great deal of work before next week's Easter and Passover Break.
Some updates from this week:
Bullying Bill Passed
On Tuesday, the Minnesota House debated and voted on HF 826, known as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act or the Anti-bullying Bill. We can all agree that no child should be bullied and that bullying is wrong, but there are serious concerns with this bill:
1. This bill is an overly prescriptive, unfunded mandate. Every school district already has a Minnesota Department of Education approved anti-bullying policy.
2. The money should stay in the classroom; this could cost up to $32 per student per year in more administration, adding up to approximately $20 million per year to implement.
3. There is no requirement for parent notification - for either the bullied child or the child accused of being a bully - even though an incident report will be filed in the "School Safety Technical Assistance Center" database. The bill also lacks data protection language to protect students' privacy.
I have heard concerns and opposition from many of my constituents, and while I am not opposed to an appropriate and effective anti-bullying policy, this bill is the wrong approach to dealing with bullying and I voted no. The bill passed with bi-partisan opposition. No republicans voted for it and three democrats also voted no. You can watch my floor speech outlining several of these concerns by clicking here or on the image below.
Veterans Hiring Tax Credit Amendment
As I mentioned last week, I offered an amendment to the second tax bill that would have provided a tax credit to businesses for hiring out-of-work veterans. With the veteran unemployment rate at around 12% -- far higher than the state average -- I will continue fighting for solutions to help veterans and put veterans back to work. You can watch my speech on the hiring credit by clicking here or on the image below.