Spring has sprung, the state boys high school basketball tournament is underway and two months remain in the 2019 legislative session.
With those thoughts in mind:
Congratulations to two boys hoops teams from our area – Perham and Henning – for not only making it to state, but for winning their first-round games. Perham won its Class AA quarterfinals game and now takes on Minneapolis North in the semifinals 8 p.m. Friday. Henning also advanced in Class A and plays Spring Grove at noon Friday. Both games are at Target Center in Minnneapolis. We are proud of the efforts from both Perham and Henning and wish you all the best.
At the Capitol this week, bills pertaining to the opioid epidemic, distracted driving and school snow days all received strong, bipartisan approval in passing.
The opioids bill features a package of appropriations for programs and resources to combat and educate citizens about opioids. The funding for these initiatives is obtained by increased fees on opioid manufacturers and wholesalers.
The distracted driving bill would make it illegal to hold a cellphone or other wireless communication device while driving, instead requiring drivers to use hands-free devices.
The snow-day bill forgives school districts for days that were missed due to bad weather during this rather cold and snowy winter. The bill allows school districts to count three canceled days in late January of this year toward the state’s minimum 165 classroom days required by law. The bill also ensures hourly staff and companies that contract with districts are made whole, either via compensation or opportunities to make up for missed time.
All three of these bills have kinks that need to be ironed out during conference committee negotiations with the Senate before they come up for votes on final approval. I must say it is a bit concerning that things have gotten to the point where we are now considering a law to make sure people are not fumbling around on their phone as they drive a vehicle. This should be common sense and people should know better. It is unfortunate that some bad actors have led us down this path.
On another travel-safety note, please be careful out on the roads as this winter’s snow pack continues to melt away in this balmy weather, causing the potential for hazardous conditions in some places.