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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative Update: Thank You to Teachers and Nurses

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Here is an update on some important things happening at the Capitol.

Military Reciprocity Bill

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a bill to make it easier for veterans to join law enforcement after they are done serving our nation.

House File 1915 states that if a person has four years of service as military law enforcement personnel, he or she can count that toward their peace officer education examinations. This bill helps veterans find a job when they come home, and makes it easier for law enforcement to recruit these talented veterans.

Raising Legislative Pay

This week, House Democrats voted to send a constitutional amendment to voters in 2016 with the intent of raising legislative salaries.

Currently under state law, legislators are in charge of setting their own pay and this constitutional amendment will give voters the opportunity to change that so it is decided by an outside board. Democrats want to be able to have a board raise legislator salaries without political repercussions, and I think this is wrong.

I am also concerned that it will be difficult to budget for these unnecessary salary increases—meaning money will have to come from other essential areas like education or health and human services.

Some people may think we raise our salary (currently around $31,000 a year) every biennium, but the legislature has not raised their salaries since 1999.

I voted against this bill and hope that if it comes to voters in 2016, they will oppose this measure.

Thank You Teachers and Nurses

This week recognized two very important groups in Minnesota. Tuesday, May 6th was National Teacher Appreciation Day and this week is also National Nurses Week. Both these groups do so much for us and deserve thanks.

First-rate teachers help our kids learn and grow, preparing them for a bright future. As a father of four wonderful children, I know I am thankful that there are so many great teachers in Minnesota.

And for those who choose nursing, you have not chosen an easy career. Minnesota nurses are always there to offer a steady, caring hand to our sick and vulnerable. Nurses hold a special place in my heart because of the years my mother spent working as an RN at Canby Hospital.

So once more thank you to all the hardworking teachers and nurses out there for strengthening our communities and making our state a better place! Thank you for choosing a career of service.

I will continue to work on your behalf in St. Paul. If I can ever help you or your family on a matter of state government, please do not hesitate to contact me.