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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

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This week's news from St. Paul

Thursday, March 29, 2018

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Rachel and I recedntly celebrated our 20th anniversary.


Greetings,

Best wishes from the McDonald family we prepare to celebrate the Easter/Passover holiday season. May you and your family enjoy the company of one another as we share His glory.

And, one more note before we get to legislative business: Congratulations to the Delano Tigers for winning a state boys basketball championship! Thanks for doing our city proud and for providing a great show as you created lifelong memories for not only yourselves, but for many people in our area.

The Legislature will take a brief recess to observe the holidays. When we return to St. Paul, only six full weeks will remain in the 2018 session. The preliminary bill deadlines have passed and our attention will turn more and more toward the House floor where we will be taking votes of the full body.

The big news this week is the House unveiled a legislative package today aimed at putting student safety first. The Legislature is looking at a variety of aspects in order to answer the question as to what’s best for protecting our children. We are taking a wide-ranging approach to provide more resources and help us meet the needs of students and schools statewide.

The bills we are working on in this package allow us to make improvements in two crucial areas of mental health and school security. This allows for hiring more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals in addition to making critical building security upgrades.

In total, the House proposes approximately $50 million for mental health and school safety funding. This subject will continue to evolve as we look for thoughtful, appropriate measures ensure our children’s safety. The following solutions, authored by numerous House Republican members, are currently advancing through the public committee process, and will be included in the larger proposal:

  • School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools.
  • School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems.
  • School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids.
  • Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies.
  • Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress.
  • School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff.

Have a blessed Easter/Passover and, as always, your thoughts are welcome.

God bless,

Joe

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