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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Laurie Pryor (DFL)

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Legislative Update - November 17, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

I’d like to take an opportunity to thank everyone who attended the Town Hall Meeting Sen. Steve Cwodzinski and I hosted this past weekend. More than 100 engaged neighbors attended with terrific questions for Steve and me. These questions touched on a variety of topics – some positive, and some troubling – and led to lively discussions.

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In this update and ones that will follow, I’ll be touching on some of these topics.

Salute to our veterans

Our Town Hall Meeting coincided with Veterans Day. As is traditional, at11:00 a.m. on this 11th day of the 11th month, we asked the veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized. About a dozen of them did so, and it was quite moving to be able to thank them in person for their service.

This past legislative session we were able to make some progress as it related to Minnesota’s service members. This legislation included increases in enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, money toward improvements at our Veterans Homes, and an increase in funding for the Minnesota GI Bill. It’s clear though that we still have much more to do, especially as it relates to health care, housing, and employment. While serving on the House Veterans Affairs Division, I look forward to contributing to this bipartisan work.

I’d like to put in another positive word for the work performed by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon to help families with a loved one serving and offer resources to veterans upon returning. Head over to their Facebook page here.

Protecting our environment

Many folks were interested in talking about issues related to preserving our natural resources. Climate change continues to concern many of us and we discussed how we can combat it. Minnesota was one of the first states in the nation to enact a renewable energy standard, pushing utilities to get 25 percent of all electrical generation from sources such as solar and wind by 2025. We now have a bipartisan push to raise the goal to 50 percent by 2030. With developments in the industry and changes in public policy, this can be a reality. From these efforts, our clean energy economy will continue to grow, creating opportunities for Minnesotans to get good jobs in this emerging sector.

Additionally, we discussed the subject of copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This proposal has been controversial for many years; we need to balance protecting our precious resources with the need to create good paying jobs in northern Minnesota. Any decision regarding this must be based on sound scientific evidence. It is also imperative that protections be in place to ensure that this jewel of our state and nation will be around for generations to come.

Harassment at the Capitol

As you have likely heard, women have come forward with their accounts of sexual harassment at the State Capitol. Legislators, staff, and lobbyists all have the right to serve in an environment that’s safe and free from this unacceptable behavior.

It’s clear that a cultural change is needed at the Capitol. More rigorous training and systems for investigating complaints is essential. Women need to be better empowered to speak up when sexual harassment occurs so those committing these reprehensible acts are held accountable. I’m encouraged that – on a bipartisan basis – calls are being made to change this sometimes hostile environment.

Please continue to reach out to with your input. I value hearing from you, and it’s an honor to represent you.


Laurie Pryor

State Representative