Thank you to Marshall City Councilman David Sturrock and family for stopping by my office this week to discuss improvements that are needed on Highway 23.
I appreciated a chance to meet with people from the Highway 23 Coalition this week to discuss important issues regarding that road. Highway 23 is a vital corridor for southwest Minnesota, from commerce and family travel perspectives alike. Improvements to this roadway have been a passion of mine in the Legislature and I am proud to have worked to achieve Corridors of Commerce funding to upgrade the safety of our highway system for 23 and beyond.
In other news, Tuesday was a big day at the Capitol this week, with both Student Safety First Day in the House and Future Farmers of America Day both taking place. Here is a quick look at those subjects and more:
Student Safety First Day in the House featured a number of committees hearing bills on this subject. This includes reviewing our investment in the School Safety Center, part of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. House members also introduced legislation allowing schools to use the long-term facilities maintenance revenue program for school facility safety.
This week the governor also introduced his Safe and Secure Schools Act. At first glance, there appear to be areas of common ground between the governor and the Legislature. For example, the governor’s proposal has similarities to what the House’s Education Finance Committee has been discussing on topics such as mental health and physical security.
Support for school security and mental health need to be at the top of our list on this issue and that is where the House is focusing. We are working this session to build on the progress we made by the aforementioned funding we provided for the School Safety Center and school-linked mental health grants. These are proposals that will help address this serious issue and enjoy significant bipartisan support.
As someone with a background in agriculture himself, I always appreciate seeing FFA students visiting St. Paul to advocate for the industry. There are some interesting developments to report regarding renewed interest in ag careers and I hope to share details on that subject in another update very soon.
The governor this week also announced he wants to address drinking water issues by executive rule. Agriculture is a bipartisan issue, and one of our top priorities is clean drinking water. It is disappointing – especially considering the Legislature is in session and this proposal wouldn’t go into effect until May – that Gov. Dayton has chosen to address nitrates in groundwater by executive rule rather than attempting to work with us on a bipartisan solution.
Considering the timing, it appears the governor is simply trying to distract Minnesotans from the MNLARS mess and the news that his Office of Health Facility Complaints has failed to protect vulnerable adults in Minnesota.
It was great to see the large number of people who visited my office in St. Paul throughout the week to discuss issues. Above, Stu Frazeur (Canby) and Doug Broberg (Dawson) from the Minnesota Land Improvement Contractors of America and, below, Krist Wollum (Porter), president of the Minnesota State Cattlemen Association, stopped by on Thursday. Thanks to everyone who has taken time to come discuss whatever issues are important to them.
Have a good weekend and I’ll be back soon with more news from the Capitol.