State government cannot solve every problem that takes place in Minnesota. This is not a slam on the legislative process or lawmakers; it is just a simple fact.
Take our children for instance. Parents are responsible for looking out for their child’s best interest regardless of their age, for teaching their kids the difference between right and wrong, and for providing them with a good set of values which, hopefully, they will continue to follow as they become adults.
Sadly, some in the Minnesota legislature don’t see it that way. They feel it’s the state’s job to run your life and the lives of your children. By forcing more mandates on you, they believe problems can be stopped before they start and that your child will ultimately be safer than if you were left in charge of your child’s well being.
There’s no doubt that a social agenda is being pushed by the majority party, and we witnessed several examples of this over the past week. Some of the proposals are simply mind-boggling.
The first forces schools to teach sexual education in grades 7-12. As we discussed on the House floor, potential curricula that is likely to be taught includes: how to use contraception, how to go condom shopping, and identifying “risky” forms of intercourse. As if to say some forms of intercourse among our teenagers aren’t “risky.” This was part of an education policy proposal that was overwhelmingly approved. The goal here is to prevent teen pregnancy.
Of course, sex education is an unfunded mandate. Public schools are already losing enrollment due to mandates and now the legislature is looking to add one more controversial provision. And in doing so, the cost of educating each student is going to rise if this becomes law.
Further, by forcing sex ed into the curriculum, our teachers will have less time to teach the fundamentals - math, science, technology, etc. - that students actually need to be successful later in life.
Another proposal that recently passed deals with teenage drivers. It states that a new driver under the age of 18 couldn't have more than one passenger younger than 20 for the first six months after getting a license unless the passenger was a family member. The goal here is to prevent teenage driving fatalities.
Finally, I’m pleased to report that we actually shot down the most recent mandate attempt by the majority - but not without a long debate - that centers on newborns. This bill would have forced a parent to obtain a prescription from a doctor giving them the authority to tell daycare providers that their newborn could sleep in a position other than on his or her back. The goal here was to prevent SIDS deaths.
Think about that. You as a parent would not be able to tell your daycare provider to allow your child to sleep on his stomach. No, you would have to go to the doctor - and pay what you would normally pay for a doctor’s visit - and ask the physician for written permission in order to authorize a different sleeping position for your child! Your family’s cost of health care would have also increased had this additional mandate been adopted.
At what point does state government take a step back and say to Minnesota parents, “Parenting decisions belong to parents, and parents know what represents the best interests of their children.” Judging by the influx of mandate proposals coming through the House, it doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.
These bills are nothing more than the liberals pushing their social agenda on all of Minnesota’s public schools, parents, and their children. And I hope the people of southeastern Minnesota are taking notice.