It was nice to meet with people participating in Art Advocacy Day at the Hill this week.
Before we get to legislative news, I want to congratulate Otter Tail Central Bulldogs senior Ben Naddy for recently winning a state Class A championship at 113 pounds. Good luck to other area high school athletes as the winter postseason continues.
At the Capitol this week, Tuesday was Student Safety First Day in the House. Hearings for bills on that subject took place in Education Innovation, Public Safety and Security and Education Finance committees. The day included reviewing our $405,000 investment in the School Safety Center, part of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. House members also introduced bills to allow schools to apply the long-term facilities maintenance revenue program toward school facility safety.
As for the House committee on higher education which I chair, we have been hearing testimony from the U of M and Minnesota State systems regarding supplemental budget and bonding requests. Even-numbered years are not state budget years in name, but sometimes relatively minor adjustments are made and those proposals are under consideration.
On another higher education note, congratulations to Devinder Malhotra for receiving a three-year term to serve as Minnesota State chancellor. Malhotra had been serving on an interim basis since replacing Steven Rosenstone as chancellor and, as I noted to the media, Mr. Malhotra has not only the respect of practically everyone in the system, but he has the experience to go with it, and the interest as well. I am confident Chancellor Malhotra will keep things positive moving forward.
Finally, the error-plagued roll out of the state’s new vehicle licensing and registration system continues to cause problems around the state. We all want this program to work, but the plain fact is mismanagement from the governor’s administration has made a bad situation even worse. Bills are starting to emerge that could help bring more accountability and responsibility to the process in an attempt to right the ship.
Look for more details as those things take shape but, for now, I want to remind people a website is available for people to file comments regarding transaction problems they experience. Those comments are relayed to the Department of Vehicle Services to help spur resolution. Click here to reach the comment site.