It was another very busy week here in St. Paul. The House adjourned yesterday for Easter/Passover break, and will return April 22nd. For the next week, your wallets are safe from the tax-and-spend Democrats.
As you may have heard, the House debated and passed the so-called bullying bill on Tuesday. HF826, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act is one of the worst pieces of legislation I have seen in my time at the legislature. All Minnesotans can agree: bullying is wrong, and no student should feel unsafe or unwelcome when they go to school each day. This bill however will do very little, if anything to address the root causes of bullying. The intentions of my Democrat friends may be good, but the unintended consequences will be a mess for our schools and students.
Here are just a few of the reasons HF826 is the wrong approach for Minnesota schools:
It's an unfunded mandate: Non-partisan estimates indicate this bill will cost our school districts between $20-25 million per year. At a time when school district budgets are already stretched thin, we shouldn't be adding additional mandates for teachers and school district budgets.
No parental notification: Parents and teachers, not bureaucrats and St. Paul know how best to address bullying in schools. This bill does not require parental notification of either the child being bullied or the child accused of bullying. Leaving parents out of the equation is the wrong approach.
Lack of data privacy: During Monday's debate, Republicans raised serious data privacy concerns about the use of summary data collected by the state bureaucracy created to collect data on bullying incidents.
One-size-fits-all solution: School districts across Minnesota have been working to combat bullying. Every school under law was already required to have a bullying policy. This bill is a top-down mandate from politicians and bureaucrats in St. Paul. Our world-class teachers, principals, and school districts know how to combat bullying better than the Minnesota Department of Education.
Sexually explicit and offensive curriculum. According to page 18 of the Governor's Safe and Supportive Schools Task Force, preventing bullying includes "teaching the nature of human sexuality." In his final comments on the House floor, the bill's author, Rep. Davnie thanked the homosexual activist group Outfront Minnesota and the LGBT community for entrusting him to carry this bill. There is every reason for citizens to be concerned that this bill will mandate, in accordance with the task force and the bill, sexually explicit curriculum that is inappropriate for elementary children and a violation of family values.
I have been a strong and vocal opponent of this bill since it passed off the House floor last session. You can watch one of my floor speeches on this bill by clicking here or on the image below:
Town Halls this Weekend
I am pleased to inform you that Senator Scott Newman will be joining me for my town hall meetings tomorrow. If you have any questions about this legislative session or would like to hear an update on the 2014 session so far, I hope you'll attend.
Saturday, April 12th
Gaylord Library Community Room
428 Main Ave
Gaylord, MN 55334
Sisters Coffeehouse & Restaurant
112 E 2nd St
Winthrop, MN 55396
High Island Hideaway Restaurant
7540 5th Ave
New Auburn, MN 55366
Have a great weekend,