There is less than a month to go in our legislative session and a great deal of heavy lifting remains. Budget bills are getting set for floor action, as is a package of tax legislation. We’re still waiting on a public infrastructure (bonding) proposal from the House majority, and the days continue to slip away. Here’s an update from the State Capitol.
Education Bill Passes the House Floor
Yesterday, we considered the combined E-12/Higher Education bill on the House Floor. In Minnesota, we value our great schools that prepare all of our learners to achieve and succeed. While I voted for the bill as it had some positive aspects, like funding for schools to improve safety, the bill could have done more to give kids an opportunity to achieve in the classroom. It allows critical investments for early childhood education to expire, doesn’t meet the funding need for many districts’ special education needs, and does very little to make college more affordable. Earlier this week I met with some teachers from the Robbinsdale district, and I want to make sure they have the resources they need to provide an excellent education for our kids.
I’ll work to ensure the things important to our community, like great schools, remain a priority at the Capitol so we can maintain our tradition of quality education.
Gun Violence Prevention
Minnesotans continue to visit the Capitol pushing for action to save lives through gun safety legislation. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally last Wednesday to show there’s still continued pressure to pass common sense gun laws in Minnesota. In fact, a recent poll shows that even 89% of gun owners favor background checks for all gun purchases. On Friday, students from across the state came to the Capitol to urge action while recognizing the 19th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy and this past Wednesday, Protect Minnesota held a rally on the Capitol steps as one my colleagues held a sit-in inside the House Chamber.
I’m committed to delivering on these measures that will make our families, communities, and Minnesota safer. There’s still time to act before session ends. Call Speaker Daudt’s office and tell him you want to see background checks and protective orders: 651-296-5364 or email him at email@example.com.
Protecting Clean Water
Last week, the House majority brought a bill to the floor to prevent proposed water quality protections from taking effect. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has drafted rules regarding nitrogen fertilizer use, and the bill would stop them unless the legislature specifically authorizes them. In 1989, the Groundwater Protection Act was established allowing these rules, and it would be irresponsible for the legislature to interfere.
Most farmers are already utilizing best practices regarding fertilizer use and are committed to being good stewards of our land. There are areas of our state, however, where waters are heavily impaired and reasonable guidelines for fertilizer application make sense. Thankfully, Gov. Dayton has indicated he would veto this bill if it makes its way to his desk. Ensuring future generations have safe drinking water is one of our most pressing responsibilities.
As part of this effort, I hope the Republican Majority comes forward with their public works proposal soon. Gov. Dayton unveiled his recommendations before session, with significant funding included toward our state’s aging wastewater infrastructure. I’ll continue to advocate for greater protections our drinking water.
Continue to contact me with your input. It’s an honor to represent you.