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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Eric Lucero (R)

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Rep. Eric Lucero (30B) - April 1 Legislative Update

Friday, April 1, 2016

It was a pleasure meeting Sue this week to discuss Alzheimer's disease. She is a constituent from Saint Michael and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association.

Dear Neighbor,

I hope you had a great Easter. As I type this, the fourth week of this year's abbreviated 10-week legislative session is drawing to a close.

Pro-Life Bills

I am co-author of two pro-life bills that received bill hearings this week:

  • There are currently 18 Planned Parenthood centers located in Minnesota which receive taxpayer funding from four different sources:  Title X, Maternal Child Health block grants, Fed TANF, and State of Minnesota general fund dollars.  HF 3374 seeks to redirect the taxpayer funds away from these Planned Parenthood centers to the 173 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) located throughout Minnesota which offer non-abortion related, comprehensive health care and family planning services to women.  The bill passed the Health and Human Services Policy Committee and is the first step to defunding Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer dollars.
  • Last year it was discovered University of Minnesota has been involved with research involving aborted babies parts.  The U of M initially denied involvement of research using aborted babies parts but subsequently reversed course by admitting involvement.  I became appalled upon learning the U of M would be involved with this kind of activity.  Given I am a U of M alumni, I support medical research the U of M performs but not when such research crosses the ethical line.  HF 2865 seeks to withhold $14 million in future university funding unless the university establishes a fetal tissue research center to oversee the university’s use of fetal tissue for research to ensure only tissue from babies that have died from natural causes is purchased as well as other ethical standards. The bill passed the Health and Human Services Finance Committee and is the first step to hold the U of M accountable for their unethical actions that shock the conscience.

Great team from Albertville and Saint Michael came to the Capitol this week to visit and discuss roads and bridges transportation funding.

Transportation

Among the bills we heard this week in the Transportation Committee was a bill to extend the Northstar commuter train from Big Lake to St. Cloud. I opposed the bill and voted NO because I firmly believe the focus of our state priority should be economic growth and eliminating congestion by funding roads and bridges NOT trolleys and commuter trains.

Education and Student Data Privacy

This week in the Education Policy Committee the omnibus education policy bill was released and debated.  Highlights of provisions related to student data privacy included in the omnibus bill are:

  • A section referencing the various sections of existing law on the topic of parental rights related to prekindergarten through grade 12 scattered across state statutes and consolidates into a single location.
  • A section designed to limit the Minnesota Department of Education from developing, coordinating, or assisting with student surveys seeking information about a student’s activities, opinions, behaviors, and experiences related to sexual activity, drugs, connections with family, and other assorted topics most parents deem inappropriate and intrusive for schools to be questioning children about.
  • A section directing the Minnesota Department of Education develop, publish, and oversee a detailed data security plan of the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect student private data.  A statewide data security plan to protect our children’s private data does not currently exist and this is the first step to change that.