I want to pass along some information on a couple topics that have recently been making headlines. Also, I’ve had a busy week in St. Paul and around town and thought I could share some highlights.
REAL ID Update
You may have seen stories in the news regarding REAL ID in our state. Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to require additional security features in new state-issued identification cards. Currently, Minnesota does not comply with the REAL ID Act. This has sparked fears that Minnesotans will not be able to board commercial airplanes after the January 1, 2016 deadline.
Recently, legislative leaders and the governor sent letters requesting an extension for our state. REAL ID cards raise questions about data privacy and, should an extension be granted, we will examine these issues during the legislative session in order to ensure our residents can travel without worrying about not having an up-to-date ID card. As chair of the Civil Law and Data Practices Committee, this is an important topic to me and something I will continue to monitor and investigate as we approach the 2016 session.
A central issue in our state and country deals with refugees from war-torn countries migrating to the United States. Following the devastating attacks in Paris, this topic has become even more controversial. Earlier this week, House Speaker Kurt Daudt sent a letter encouraging Governor Dayton to urge President Obama to suspend relocation efforts for Syrian refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has completed a full review of security and screening procedures for refugees entering the country.
I understand and am deeply sympathetic toward those fleeing from violence and war. However, our first priority as public servants is to keep Minnesotans safe. Until we know there are effective and operational measures in place to screen out potential terrorists, we should look to halt relocation efforts. I am currently working on a Resolution to Congress requesting to put a pause on refugee relocation until proper safety protocols are in place. There is no room for error on this issue; we must ensure the safety of our residents.
Recently, the University of Minnesota Student Association Forum voted down a resolution for a yearly moment of silence to remember and honor the victims of September 11, 2001. I, for one, can’t understand how honoring almost 3,000 victims and their families for ONE MOMENT out of the year is controversial. Thankfully, the administration is planning to have some form of recognition each year to remember the catastrophic event in our nation’s history.
Child Support Working Group
In St. Paul I’m involved in a coalition of legislators, activists, and organizational leaders called the Child Support Working Group. This assembly was formed in August of this year to ensure that Minnesota is home to fair and reasonable child support payments. This is an issue that many folks struggle with and something that I’m very passionate about. If you would like to read more about the Child Support Working Group, click here.
Out and About
Earlier this week, I attended a Coalition for Public Safety forum called Fair Sentencing and Fair Chances. The dialogue centered around possible criminal justice reforms in our state. This issue area closely relates to the Civil Law Committee and is something I will continue to learn more about.
With Thanksgiving already coming up next week, I spent some time packing “Boxes of Love”, a service through The Inner City Ministry of Cru. The boxes contained Thanksgiving meals that will be sent to those in need. The holiday season is a great reminder that there are those in our communities that can sometimes use a helping hand.
As always, please contact me at (651) 296-4231, or email at Rep.Peggy.Scott@house.mn if you have any questions or suggestions.
Have a great weekend,