The legislature returned this week from a spring recess and the countdown begins before the required May 21 adjournment. Governor Dayton delivered a letter to legislative leaders this week outlining his parameters for a successful conclusion to the session, and last night the House majority announced their budget outlines.
Here’s an update from the Capitol.
Eden Prairie Chamber
Over the break, I met with members of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. The topic was workforce shortages. Here in Minnesota, our unemployment rate is as low as it’s been since 2000 and jobs in many areas are going unfilled.
We discussed how transportation and child care are significant barriers to filling jobs. Here in the Southwest Metro, we’re still waiting for the construction of the SWLRT line, which will make a major contribution to a multimodal, next-generation transportation system. Investments like this will help connect people with jobs, expanding opportunities for both workers and growing businesses.
The shortage of affordable, quality childcare is also a problem for many potential workers. Through greater investments in areas like child care assistance grants, we can open more doors to quality child care. We can also work on common sense solutions regarding regulations that make the operation of a child care center prohibitive, especially for in-home settings. Finally, let’s not forget about school-based preK, which can solve a piece of this puzzle while giving children a proven jumpstart toward academic success.
Hennepin Tech visit
Also during spring recess, I visited Hennepin Technical College where I learned about their many course offerings including a state-of-the-art robotics program. With valuable skills like this, Hennepin Tech graduates are in great demand.
In the House Higher Education Committee this week, we discussed a proposal to offer more vocational and technical training in schools. We heard a proposal that would shift control of the offerings in our technical colleges from the Minnesota State system to the K-12 system. Session Daily wrote a story about this bill from Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona. The problem this bill tries to address is the diminishing opportunity for hands-on and applied learning in high schools. Whether it’s through this proposal or other ideas, I hope we can find ways to create more opportunities for acquiring these "in demand" skills.
People from the community continue to make the trip to St. Paul advocating for important issues. This week, I met with folks here for Minnesota Utility Investors Day at the Capitol.
Sen. Cwodzinski and I met with a great group of eighth graders from Notre Dame Academy in Minnetonka.
I also recently met with constituents from the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association. The club maintains over 20,000 miles of trails throughout the state. The middle of April may not seem an appropriate time to talk about snow, but the short-term weather forecast has other ideas!
Please keep in touch with your input. Have a great weekend.