Honoring a Local Family
Yesterday, as we debated our larger supplemental finance bill, I spoke to a provision in our legislation that came about following the tragic loss of Sam Schooley. Sam was a Waconia High School grad who passed away this winter from carbon monoxide poisoning while ice fishing. I know his family well, and we’ve been close for years. My hope is that through this heartbreaking situation, we can help prevent similar incidents in the future.
That’s why I pushed for a provision in the bill to create a working group of interested stakeholders to identify ways the state can raise awareness and prevent carbon monoxide accidents. Tom and Paula Schooley came to the House floor yesterday to support this language, and I’m so grateful they had the courage to stand before the House and try to make a difference. If you’re interested, here’s a video from the floor debate where I spoke about the importance of this provision.
State Government Funding
Late last night, we passed a larger omnibus bill, part of which was dedicated to state government finance. My provision to increase cybersecurity in our state agencies was included in our final bill. My legislation dedicates 3.5% of all agency budgets toward improving cybersecurity capabilities. We’ve long heard how important it is to protect Minnesotans’ private information, and this is one way to make sure we’re using more funds toward that end.
Another one of my bills was also included. This is the provision that requires MN.IT to seek outside proposals for enterprise software in order to buy software and not build it from scratch. I'm always looking to streamline our state government, help it run more efficiently, and save taxpayers money in the process. After seeing some of the disastrous IT rollouts from the state, I think this is certainly a way of saving tax dollars and improving our state government functions.
Another part of our state government finance bill uses excess funds in the Vikings’ stadium account to build three homes for veterans around the state. We know the Stadium Reserve Account has millions of extra funds, why not use some of that to build homes for our nation’s heroes? It’s disappointing to see Governor Dayton come out against this provision, and to have a number of legislative Democrats vote against our bill. Let’s return excess tax dollars to those who really need it like Minnesota vets.
Another provision that passed yesterday was my bipartisan bill to increase funding for what’s known as the Youth Skills Training program. The program provides grants to local businesses to help high school students gain skills and experience working in a trade or technical field. This is a great program for students, and I want to thank Jobs Committee Chairman Pat Garofalo for including this provision in our larger bill.
During one of our long debates on the House floor, I was honored to temporarily preside as Speaker Pro-Tempore. I'm always honored to be your legislator, and acting as Speaker Pro-Tempore added to the awe I hold for service in your State House.
Please Contact Me
There’s just over two weeks left in session, and things will move quickly. I hope you’ll call, email, or visit to share your thoughts, ideas, or questions before we adjourn. As you know, I’m here to serve you, and want to help in any way I can.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the weather,