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Rep. Eric Lucero (30B) - Legislative Update

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dear Neighbor,

Spring fever is in the air. As I type this email update it is bright and sunny outside and expected to get into the mid-40s today and mid-50s tomorrow! The other fever in the air is the start of the 2016 legislative session which begins March 8 and legislative activities have already begun to ramp up.

Joined by MACC board members, left to right: Chris Daniels, Linda Bell, and Anne Taylor.

Student Private Data Information Hearing
I joined my colleague members of the Education Policy Committee Thursday this week for an informational hearing on Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) practices regarding the collection, storage, and third-party sharing of student private data. Information uncovered from the MDE is extremely concerning.

MDE testified to the committee MDE receives approximately 30-40 applications per year from third-party organizations seeking student private data. Several of my questions to MDE involved MDE’s audit practices of the IT systems and data handling policies of those third parties MDE shares student private data with. Shockingly, MDE admitted in the last 10-plus years MDE has never audited any of the third parties to ensure the third parties are complying with safeguard requirements to protect the student private data of our children. This means MDE has zero visibility if student private data is compromised or otherwise misused. This is extremely alarming.

On a related note, MDE confirmed their participation of sharing student private data to a third party centralized database called Minn-LInk funded by the National Science Foundation for purposes of combining multiple sources of information on individuals into a single, centralized database creating profiles of our children that can be data-mined and queried. Below is a list of data feeds being uploaded to the Minn-LInk centralized database. More information about the Minn-LInk centralized database including a graphic showing the source feeds being uploaded into the centralized database can be found on a University of Minnesota website located here.

•    Student Academic Records
•    Academic Disciplinary Records
•    Standardized Test Records
•    General Education Testing Records
•    Child Protection Records
•    Children’s Mental Health Records
•    Medicaid Claims
•    Records of Incarcerated Adults
•    Juvenile Court Records

MACC board members Linda Bell, Anne Taylor, and Chris Daniels attended the hearing as well and gave eye opening testimony to the committee exposing several school district data breaches and other information causing alarm among parents around Minnesota regarding use of their children’s private data. MACC is a grassroots non-partisan education advocacy group standing for local autonomy and parental rights.

Speaking about the importance of passing a comprehensive roads-and-bridges package – without raising the gas tax.

Transportation: I-94 West Corridor Coalition

I was among the legislators asked to speak today at the I-94 West Corridor Coalition legislative preview in Rogers. Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck were in attendance along with several, Republican, colleague legislators. We used this opportunity to highlight the strong economic growth our region in the northwest metro along the I-94 corridor continues to experience and the resulting need to continue building out and enhancing our roads and bridges transportation infrastructure.
As a member of on the House Transportation Committee, my remarks reiterated Republican's high priority commitment to fund a strong road and bridges transportation package without raising taxes such as the 16-cent per gallon gas tax Governor Dayton and the Senate Democrats are demanding.

Budget Surplus
The Minnesota Management and Budget Office this morning announced a projected surplus of $900 million for budget year ending June 30, 2017, which is down $300 million from the previous budget forecast last November. 

The $900 million total is what remains after one-third of surplus revenue is directed into the state's budget reserves per current law. Indications are a weaker national economic outlook and lower consumer spending were largely responsible for the slightly reduced state revenue projection.

Whatever the dollar amount, government surplus = over taxation, a direct result of the largest tax increase in state history Democrats forced upon hard working Minnesota families and businesses in 2013. I will be working hard to prevent the surplus from being used as a license to grow government.

Visiting the Saint Michael City Council as I work my way around to each of the area city councils to share a legislative preview and session priorities based on community feedback.

Precinct Caucuses on March 1
Precinct caucuses are coming up next week – 7 p.m. Tuesday March 1 – and I urge all citizens to participate in these grass-roots meetings. Below are the meeting locations across our community:
•    Albertville and Saint Michael residents
Saint Michael-Albertville East Middle School (4862 Nabor Ave. N.E., St. Michael, MN 55376)
•    Hanover residents
Hanover City Hall (11250 Fifth Street N.E. Hanover, MN 55341)
•    Otsego and Dayton residents
Otsego Elementary School (8125 River Road N.E. Otsego, MN 55330)

Have a great weekend enjoying the weather!

Rep. Eric Lucero
State Representative
District 30B
Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton

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