The legislature is back following the Easter/Passover recess, and just six weeks remain to finish up a great deal of work. One major item left on the to-do list is a bonding bill to fund important infrastructure improvements.
Rep. Lyndon Carlson addresses the Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative
One area typically included in a bonding bill is expanding housing opportunities. All Minnesotans deserve the dignity of a place to call home, and there is a tremendous need for affordable housing options all across the state. Last night, I attended a bipartisan event hosted by the Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Plymouth. Beacon has joined with partners in the faith community and other advocates to push for $140 million of these investments. I am co-author of a bill that would make these investments, and I hope we can work together to address these needs yet this session.
In his supplemental budget proposal, Governor Dayton has called upon the Legislature to protect pre-Kindergarten programs from being eliminated for 4,000 students at more than 59 school districts and charter schools across the state. After next school year, if investments we made last year aren’t extended, the Robbinsdale School District could lose almost $1.9 million, representing lost education opportunities for 360 four-year-olds.
Quality pre-K programming gives kids a significant jumpstart not just when it comes to academic learning, but how they interact with their peers and develop social and behavioral skills. We can’t jeopardize the progress we’ve made. All Minnesota students should have the opportunity to start kindergarten fully prepared to learn and achieve, and it would be irresponsible to allow this funding to end. My son attends a pre-K program in the Robbinsdale School District, so I have seen firsthand how beneficial these programs are.
Equal Pay Day
Yesterday, April 10th marked Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day is the point in the year when the salaries of women finally catch up with men’s salaries from the previous year. In Minnesota, women earn 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the gap is much worse for indigenous women and women of color. We have a lot more to do to address this issue.
You can find more information here at the National Women’ s Law Center.
From April 9th through the 22nd, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is stepping up enforcement efforts to stop distracted driving. More than 300 law enforcement agencies statewide will be conducting this extra enforcement to remind Minnesotans of the potentially deadly danger of this activity. Texting, filming video, eating, and wrangling kids in the backseat can all take attention away from where it needs to be: on the road. Citations for texting and driving climbed nearly 23 percent from 2016 to 2017. Distracted driving contributes to one in five crashes in Minnesota and it contributes to an average of 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries a year.
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Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your input or if I can ever be of assistance.