Hello from the State Capitol,
The 2014 legislative session is right around the corner, set to start February 25. In anticipation of a short and busy session, I have pre-filed bills that will help save jobs, protect private data at MNsure, and keep quality teachers in the classroom.
Repeal business-to-business taxes, save jobs
First and foremost, I propose to repeal three burdensome business-to-business taxes that were implemented last year by my Democrat colleagues as part of their $2.1 billion Tax bill.
These controversial new taxes extend to warehousing and storage services, farm and equipment repairs, and telecommunications equipment purchases.
Businesses of all sizes and sectors are negatively affected. Owners have no choice but to either pass the added costs to consumers or make the difficult decision to cut jobs, stop expansion or even move to a more business-friendly state.
Members from both sides of the aisle agree these taxes were a mistake. Let’s work together to repeal them and keep jobs here in Minnesota.
Protect personal data at MNsure
It made national news when thousands of social security numbers were exposed this fall by a MNsure employee.
This never should have happened, but current law is inadequate to prevent improper use at our state’s arm of Obamacare.
To prevent future misuse and possible identity theft, I’ve authored a bill requiring a background check (including electronic fingerprinting) for any MNsure employee, or affiliated navigator, with access to personal data.
I also incorporated a provision that would disqualify persons from employment at MNsure if they have prior convictions for fraud or theft.
MNsure should never be too cautious when dealing with Minnesotans’ private information.
Keep quality teachers in the classroom
I believe teachers should be strong in their area of expertise and have a well-rounded base of knowledge. Across the state, many teachers in Art, Music, P.E., etc. are on temporary status because they missed a component of the Basic Skills Test (teacher licensure exam) by just a point or two.
What we’ve seen time and again are teachers strong in their field put in a sort of administrative purgatory, where they can teach with a waiver but still not have full reign of a classroom.
I’ve proposed a compromise of sorts. My legislation would allow the state to take a teacher’s aggregate score, compared to the sum of the targets of the multiple licensure subject exams, in order to determine a teacher’s readiness for the classroom. One small miss on a component should not throw a qualified teacher into limbo.
Even though my Democrat colleagues are in total control of state government, I’m confident I can work with them to move my commonsense bills forward. I have a good (and even rare) track record of having a bill signed into law every session, and I fully plan on bringing back that same enthusiasm this year.
Last month I had the pleasure to meet Kasson Mantorville high school students in Larry Hegerle’s social studies government class. Sen. Senjem and I hosted a mock legislative session, and the students had a guided tour of the Capitol.
If you’re ever in St. Paul, please do not hesitate to contact my office to set up a meeting. I’d also be more than glad to meet with you in the district to discuss important state issues. I can be reached at email@example.com or 651-296-9236. I’m here to serve you!
Talk to you soon,