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

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Legislative Update - May 11, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dear Neighbor,

We have just over a week left in the legislative session. We must adjourn by Monday, May 21, but no bills can be passed that day. Since we don’t reconvene until Monday, in essence, six days remain for legislation to be considered. In these final days, I’m committed to putting our community’s needs and values at the forefront. Here’s an update from the Capitol.

Town Hall Meeting

Here’s one more reminder about tomorrow’s Town Hall Meeting in Eden Prairie. With such a short time left in the session I’m deeply interested in hearing from those in the community, so I hope you’ll attend and share your thoughts with Sen. Cwodzinski and me.

What: Town Hall Meeting with local legislators
When: Saturday, May 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Eden Prairie Library, 565 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Who: Representative Laurie Pryor, Senator Steve Cwodzinski, members of the community.

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. In each and every community throughout Minnesota, teachers play a critical role in helping our young people develop while giving them the tools they need to reach their full potential. I know all of us can think back to when we were growing up and point to an exceptional teacher we had in school. I can still remember the sound of Miss Schultz's voice as she read chapter books to us during quiet time in our 4th-grade classroom. Unfortunately, many school districts across the state are facing difficult financial choices and retaining excellent teachers is at risk. Budget woes are largely a result of Congress and the State Legislature's underfunding of special education, which puts local communities on the hook for multimillions more. We all need to recommit to ensuring each student can have a quality, equitable experience in the classroom. At the Capitol, I recently had the opportunity to visit with teachers from the Eden Prairie school district. During Teacher Appreciation Week, and throughout the year, I think the best way to show our appreciation for educators like these is to deliver the resources they need to do their jobs most effectively for our students.
Real ID Update
Many members of the community have contacted me with confusion over federal Real ID requirements to board a commercial airplane. Good news came this week from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Real ID compliance. The federal government has said Minnesotans will be able to use standard driver’s licenses or identification cards for domestic air travel or access to certain federal facilities until October 1, 2020. Minnesota is on track to start issuing Real ID-compliant licenses by October 1, 2018, and this ruling gives Minnesota plenty of time to be fully compliant.
U of M Board of Regents
Due to a resignation, there was a vacancy on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. Five candidates applied and appeared before a joint House/Senate Higher Education Committee. During a question and answer period, Randy Simonson, a veterinarian and CEO, stated that he was open to closing U of M campuses. Considering the value that the U of M has to our whole state, I don’t think this is the right approach.
The committee recommended two other candidates: Mary Davenport, interim president at Rochester Community and Technical College and with other extensive higher education experience (to whom my vote went), and Brooks Edwards, a physician with the Mayo Clinic. Nevertheless, during the joint convention of the full House and Senate, Simonson was nominated from the floor and was elected with the majority of votes. Mary Davenport received votes from both parties, but Randy Simonson received only Republican votes. This was a disappointing process when yet again the recommendations of the group that screened and nominated candidates were ignored in the final election.  
Asian-Pacific and Jewish American Heritage Months
While May is a month when we celebrate spring, it’s also an important month for honoring Americans. Nationally and in Minnesota, May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. There are some amazing exhibits, events and videos to check out at these websites. Earlier this year, I was honored to attend the Eden Prairie Chinese Association's Lantern Festival.
One of the things that makes Minnesota great is its history of openness and inclusiveness for all those seeking a better life. I’m proud of our state’s tradition of being a leader.

Please continue to reach out with your viewpoints. It’s an honor to be your voice at the State Capitol.


Laurie Pryor
State Representative