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Legislative Update (3-7-19)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Neighbor,

Before we get to the latest legislative news, I want to let you know a submission I made to the Duluth paper in response to a recent opinion piece that paper ran appeared this week. The article pertains to the excessive amount of land our government owns – particularly in northern Minnesota – and I encourage you to click here and check it out.

In other news, on Monday the House voted to approve a bill which provides millions more for our broken driver’s licensing and registration system. It spends $5.7 million to continue work on MNLARS, $5.5 million for Phase 2 of the FAST Drivers Licensing System, and $2 million for additional staffing at the Department of Public Safety Department of Vehicle Services division.

What is NOT included is funding to provide relief to Minnesotans who run our local DMV offices. House Republicans pushed the Democrat majority to reinstate funding for those deputy registrars, but House Democrats rejected that motion and voted to send the bill to the governor on a party-line vote.

This is a bad bill because it dumps millions of dollars into a broken system with no guarantee things are going to work. With this bill, we could end up back in this same spot and finally put this project out to public bids, something that should have happened a long time ago.

Worst of all, it is a shame the deputy registrars are still suffering because of the state’s failures. In 2018, the Legislature sent a standalone deputy registrar relief bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk, but that was vetoed. Then House Democrats sustained the veto during an override attempt in the House. After that, funding for deputy registrars also was included in the supplemental budget bill we approved – only to be vetoed by Dayton.

On a final note, House Democrats are looking to take giant step backward in education by undoing great progress we made to create new pathways for teachers to reach the classroom and address the shortage of educators many of our districts in Greater Minnesota face.

We moved the ball quite a bit in our attempts to bring back technical classes to junior highs, senior highs and vocational schools. Legislation the Democrats are proposing would hinder these advancements.

Furthermore, nearly a quarter of licenses for teachers of color fall under special permissions or tiers 1 and 2 that House Republicans created. If this legislation were to become law, hundreds of teachers could lose their jobs and it would be especially damaging to minority teachers.

Look for more from the House soon. Until next time, your input is welcome.

-Steve

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