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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Peggy Scott (R)

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Legislative Update 12-04-2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend! I’m sure it was nice to get away from work and spend some time with your family, friends, and other loved ones. Although it’s getting colder out there, this season is wonderful for spending time with those who matter most.

Department Of Education Survey

The Minnesota Department of Education conducts of survey of students throughout the state every three years. I’ve found that many parents aren’t aware that their child is taking this survey at school. Some of the sample questions include:

  • Can you talk to your mother/father about your problems?

  • Do you currently get free or reduced-price lunch?

  • Do you feel safe at home?

  • How tall are you?

  • How much do you weigh?

  • Do you have a long-term (more than 6 months) metal health problem?

  • How much do you feel your parents care about you?

Many of these seem innocuous and students are not required to give any personal information like name, school ID number etc. but there are still questions that could be used to identify a student, especially in a smaller district. Some of these questions include:

  • Are you male/female?

  • What is your grade in school?

  • Age

  • Which adults do you live with?

  • Do you have an IEP?
  • Do you get free or reduced-price lunch?

  • How many times have you changed schools this year?

  • How many times in the last 30 days have you been suspended?

  • Have you ever been treated for a mental health, emotional, or behavioral problem?

  • Have you even been treated for drug or alcohol abuse?

Right now, parents can opt their child OUT of the survey but must do so with written permission. Some districts choose the opposite approach where parents must give written permission to ALLOW the student to take the survey. If you’re like me and have concerns over this data and how it could be used, I’d suggest you contact our local school board members here and suggest an “opt out” policy.

Budget Surplus

Just yesterday, the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget announced that our state is set to have a $1.2 billion surplus. While it’s good news we are not facing a deficit, a large surplus shows that we are overtaxing our citizens. Many throughout our area aren’t seeing a continual surplus in their budgets like our state government. As our state continues to over-collect from Minnesotans, I hope we can provide sound tax relief for many during the 2016 legislative session. Last session, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a tax bill to give relief to small business owners, veterans, and college grads with student loans, among many others. Although we couldn’t reach an agreement with the Senate and governor, I will continue to push for the same tax relief for middle class Minnesotans in the upcoming session.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. You can reach me at (651) 296-4231 or

Enjoy your weekend!