Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you’ve had an enjoyable summer so far. Greg and I have spent much of our time working on our small remodeling business in St. Cloud and spending time with family. While the legislature is out of session until next February, there are a few important topics I’d like to share with you.
Many of you have asked what committees I work on in the Minnesota House of Representatives. First, I serve on the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee, which oversees regulations and policies dealing with our state’s businesses and overall private sector, as well as laws that protect consumers from fraud and other potential dangers. I am also a member of the Government Operations Committee, a policy committee that has authority to oversee and review state government departments and agencies. Finally, I serve on the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee which has jurisdiction over our state’s colleges and universities, including MNSCU and the University of Minnesota.
Childcare Unionization Continues
A federal judge recently ruled on a lawsuit filed against a unionization law passed by Democrats during the 2013 legislative session and signed by Governor Dayton. The judge dismissed the suit and now the drive to collect signatures and unionize our state’s at-home childcare providers and personal care attendants will continue, although an appeal of one of the rulings has already been filed.
Requiring childcare providers who own their own business to pay union dues will only drive up the cost of childcare for parents. Childcare providers who accept state childcare assistance for low-income families may be forced to either join the union or stop accepting children of low-income families altogether in order to avoid becoming part of the union. In our area, that could mean having to travel far to find good care for your children. We shouldn’t be putting young children, working parents, and childcare providers in such a difficult position when such a small minority of providers prefer forming a labor union. The law was unpopular before it passed, with several Democrats opposing it. The vote prevailed by just one vote and I think the people of Minnesota expect better. I will follow the legal process surrounding this issue closely in the months to come.
Prioritizing I-94 Expansion
I am joining other members of the I-94 Coalition, including lawmakers, business leaders and local officials, in calling for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to prioritize an expansion of I-94 in their future project plans. The expansion of new lanes on 94 is critical to relieving gridlock which cripples our area much of the year. MNDoT will release their highway improvement plan this fall and it currently has no plans to upgrade I-94. We are asking them to reconsider given the huge number of Minnesotans this gridlock currently impacts on a weekly basis.
Please contact me if I can be of any help to you during the legislative interim.
Rep. Tama Theis