Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week two of the 2019 legislative session is in the history books and activity at the Capitol continues to be fast and furious! We will not be in session Monday in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Rep. Lucero and Sen. Kiffmeyer presented Luke and Will official Senate and House Resolutions commemorating their achievement of the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
MY BILL INTRODUCTIONS
Several of the bills I’ve chief authored and introduced this week include:
- HF 114 and HF 115
- As a former educator myself, I have a deep passion to ensure all children have maximum educational opportunities. During my entire time serving in the Legislature, equity in education funding has been one of my top priorities and these two bills seek to close the funding gap for students in our community.
- HF 103
- A picture is worth a thousand words, correct? Well, that’s about the change with new developments in the digital space allowing for the rewriting of reality. Capabilities are being created not simply to alter digital pictures, videos, and audio recordings but to completely manufacture and present events via digital picture, video, and audio recording that never actually occurred.
In 2017, a team of Berkeley researchers released two videos. The original video showed a horse walking behind a chain link fence and the second video showed the horse having been transformed with a black-and-white zebra pattern walking behind the same chain link fence. Capabilities of the now dubbed “zebrafication tool” continue to advance via machine learning algorithms allowing for the rewriting of reality. Additional manipulation examples include turning black bears into pandas, apples into oranges, and cats into dogs.
Other companies are beginning to use machine learning algorithms to synthesize completely manufactured audio out of thin air using one-minute audio samples of a person’s voice and in a very concerning example digitally alter pornography videos to feature celebrities and other public officials without their knowledge or consent. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms are producing artificial scenes and sounds of the physical world that are pushing our society to new realms. The AI-generated content will be able to deceive in our new age of fake news. As digital manipulation technology continues to develop it will become difficult to impossible to detect fraud even with the use of digital forensic analysis. We may soon no longer be able to trust our eyes and ears once the capabilities become readily accessible to the general population via an APP on a smartphone.
This bill I’ve introduced seeks to stiffen criminal penalties for the looming threat of digital misrepresentation.
- HF 127
- The dynamics of families has significantly changed in recent decades but family law in MN statutes has been slow to catch up. I'm a strong believer reforms are needed to protect the best interest of children while at the same time maximizing the role fit parents play in the lives of their children.
In the event of a divorce or custody proceeding, courts decide how custody is established by considering factors important to the best interest of the child. Courts must follow certain parameters established in statute when making considerations.
This bill I’ve introduced seeks to raise the rebuttable presumption a parent is entitled from 25% parenting to 40% parenting (unless parents agree otherwise). This provision provides great flexibility for parents to determine what is in their family’s best interest.
- HF 187
- In 2015, then State Auditor Rebecca Otto filed an arbitrary and frivolous lawsuit against Wright, Becker, and Ramsey Counties after we in the Legislature correctly decided to change the law to allow all 87 counties in Minnesota the choice of hiring private CPA firms to complete the audits counties are required to have performed on an annual basis. The 2015 change in law broke the stranglehold monopoly Auditor Otto previously enjoyed.
The change in law was precipitated in-part because of numerous complaints and negative feedback against the State Auditor in that her monopolistic audits were too costly, inefficient, and rampant with poor customer service. The private sector can and does deliver better.
Then Auditor Otto lost in MN District Court but appealed, lost in MN Court of Appeals but appealed, and in 2018 lost in the MN Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling against her.
Unfortunately for hardworking MN taxpayers of Wright, Becker, and Ramsey Counties incurred tens of thousands of dollars in expenses having to defend ourselves. This bill I’ve introduced seeks to reimburse the counties.
Rep. Lucero with Albertivlle Mayor Jill Hendrickson, Dayton Mayor Tim McNeil, St. Michael Council Member Nadine Schoen, and colleague Rep. Kristin Robbins at the annual I-94 West Corridor Coalition legislative breakfast in Rogers.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) this week announced expansion and improvement work of the 39-mile section of I-94 between Maple Grove and Clearwater will begin this summer.
Roads and bridges transportation funding has been one of the top priorities I’ve been fighting for my entire time in office and improvements to I-94 beginning this summer will reduce congestion for tens of thousands of hard working people in our community! Work to be performed on the 39-mile stretch includes safety feature enhancements, resurfacing, and new lanes including and a fourth-lane addition between Highway 610 and Highway 101.
Sen. Kiffmeyer and I were chief authors of the Corridors of Commerce funding signed into law in 2017 which MnDOT announced in 2018 would be allocated to expand I-94 to three lanes in both directions between St. Michael and Albertville. I’m proud Sen. Kiffmeyer and I successfully achieved the Corridors of Commerce funding that will greatly benefit and continue the economic growth of our great community.
Rep. Lucero visiting Otsego City Council sharing his legislative preview.
EVENTS AT THE CAPITOL NEXT WEEK
Several events are planned next week at the Capitol. I will be attending and would love to see you if your schedules allows:
- MCCL March for Life Rally
- Tuesday, January 22nd at Noon on the Capitol steps
- National School Choice Week Rally
- Wednesday, January 23, 1:30pm – 2:15pm in the Capitol Rotunda
- MN Gun Owners Lobby Day
- Thursday, January 24, 9am – 4pm at the Capitol
Rep. Lucero with Cindi and Kelly from the Child Protection League Action meeting to discuss the important work CPLA continues to do as part of the never ending fight for our children.
Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer and I are excited to announce the below planned town halls. Please stop out to any of the day/time/locations to share your feedback with us.
Friday the 25th:
- 10:30-11:30 at the Otsego Denny's (room in the back)
- 12:30-1:30 at Albertville City Hall
Saturday the 26th:
- 9-10 at Hanover River Inn (room in front)
- 11-Noon at Saint Michael Cinema (room on main level)
STAYING IN TOUCH
Each and every day I’m continuously humbled at the opportunity to represent and fight for the values and priorities of our great community!
Please contact me to share any issues, concerns, or feedback you have to 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.
Albertville, Hanover, Otsego, Saint Michael, and the Wright County portion of Dayton