It’s been busy this week with education, transportation, and family childcare providers among the activities!
Rep. Lucero meeting with representatives from REM Minnesota. REM Minnesota has two homes providing service options for people with disabilities located in Saint Michael of which Rep. Lucero had the opportunity to visit one of the homes approximately a year ago.
LAST IN – FIRST OUT (LIFO)
When schools are in the unfortunate circumstance of having to lay teachers off, Minnesota state statute mandates layoffs occur according to seniority unless an alternative layoff agreement has been negotiated at the local level between the school board and the union. Laying teachers off in reverse order from which they were hired is known as Last In – First Out (LIFO).
HF 1478 passed off the House Floor this week which will remove the default layoff policy mandated by state statute. Removing the default policy will require all layoff policies be negotiated at the local level. I believe removing the default LIFO policy will better position teachers and school districts to protect high quality teachers by ensuring local level layoff decisions the greater opportunity to factor additional considerations beyond simply laying teachers off based on their date of hire.
Redacted emails provided by MnDOT to the Legislature in response to a data request.
In October 2016, a member of the House of Representatives submitted a data request to Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle for communications relating or referring to MnDOT’s request to the Legislative Advisory Commission regarding $105 million federal dollars Minnesota received as part of the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). MnDOT failed to respond to the data request.
Because MNDOT failed to respond to the first data request, January 2017 Chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee submitted a second data request to MnDOT for the same communications. MnDOT responded to the second request by providing highly redacted communications. I’ve included a picture above of the ridiculously redacted communications MnDOT provided to the Legislature.
The reason for the data requests for communications is because weeks before the November 2016 elections MnDOT threatened to cancel road projects. The timing and threats to cancel road projects is unprecedented and is highly suspected as being politically motivated just prior to the election.
This week in the House Civil Law Committee, MnDOT received a bipartisan tongue lashing with strong language directed at MnDOT for hiding information the legislature is legally entitled to review. The strong language directed at MnDOT included “disappointing, disrespectful, frustrating, troubling, appalling, and arrogant.” MnDOT appears to have forgotten the legislature has legislative oversight and funding of their agency.
It's important MnDOT comply in turning over communications to provide insight into how road projects are funded or if projects were held hostage in the attempt to influence or pressure transportation decisions the legislature may make or political outcomes of elections. The Civil Law Committee concluded with a loud and clear message to MnDOT that if they do not quickly become cooperative they may face legal subpoenas issued from the committee to force MnDOT to testify.
Rep. Lucero joined by family childcare providers Hollee Saville and Julie Seydel
testifying in favor of HF 1508 in front of the House Civil Law Committee.
FAMILY CHILDCARE PROVIDERS
The Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care recently released a report and recommendations outlining several steps that could be taken to begin combating the growing shortage of family childcare providers in Minnesota. One of the areas identified as needing to be addressed is the area of correction orders and appeals.
As a strong supporter of family childcare providers I'm proud to chief author of HF 1508 which seeks to bring several, much needed reforms to help our great family childcare providers across the state. I was joined by family childcare providers Hollee Saville and Julie Seydel for the bill hearing in front of the House Civil Law Committee Tuesday this week in which the bill successfully passed. Thursday this week I was joined by Julie Seydel for the next bill hearing on HF 1508 in front of the House Health & Human Services Finance Committee. The committee held the bill over for possible inclusion into the HHS Finance omnibus bill.
It was a pleasure meeting Otsego constituents Alecia, Jayne, and Jenna who stopped by my Capitol office during Mental Health Day on the Hill today to discuss increased protections for the mentally disabled.
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always please contact me to share any issues, concerns, or feedback you may have that will assist me best represent you. The best way to reach me is by email at Rep.Eric.Lucero@House.MN or by phone at 651-296-1534.
Have a great weekend!
Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton