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

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Legislative Update - February 28, 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
This week, several bills I authored received public hearings in House Committees. On Monday, the Education Policy Committee heard HF 1005 that attempts to improve the communication between parents and those in the schools who provide special education services. Tuesday, the Higher Education Committee heard HF 550, which would create a new student loan counseling strategy. Today, the Early Childhood Committee held a hearing on HF 1238 to make some changes to our child care assistance programs, including delivering services to families experiencing homelessness.
Here’s more news from the Capitol:
Education Field Hearing in Windom
My colleagues and I recognize that not everyone is able to make to the Capitol to share thoughts on various issues, so many of our committees are holding field hearings throughout the state this session. Last week, the House Education Finance Division traveled to Windom in southwestern Minnesota. We were able to tour their combined middle and high school and got to check out some of their unique programming opportunities for students, including hydroponic towers where they grow lettuce for the cafeteria, and their combined welding, metals, and small engine shop. These give students hands-on experience which can open their eyes to potential career opportunities.


Following that, we held an official committee hearing and approved two bills concerning debt service equalization and operating referendum state aid. I look forward to future opportunities like these to hear about what’s working, as well as needs and challenges, from a broad cross-section of Minnesotans in every corner of the state.
Gun Violence Prevention
Following tragedies including those at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Parkland, Pittsburgh and others, Americans have been vocal in their desire to see us take action to prevent gun violence. This week, the House Public Safety Committee held public hearings on two common-sense measures that have the objective of preventing tragedies and saving lives. HF 8 would expand criminal background checks on gun sales, closing loopholes which allow dangerous or ineligible people from obtaining guns from online dealers or private sales. HF 9would enable “red flag laws” to allow a court petition to temporarily remove someone’s access to guns if a person shows signs of being dangerous.
Evidence shows these measures will save lives by preventing suicides, homicides, and mass shooting events. I look forward to supporting these initiatives as they continue to move forward.
Health and Safety Day
Tomorrow, the House Education Policy Committee will hold "Health and Safety in Our Schools Day." This effort has been inspired by students, parents, and public education advocates and this hearing will give them an opportunity to share their hopes, dreams, and challenges as it relates to health and safety in our schools. There are several bipartisan pieces of legislation that will improve the well-being of students in our state.

As part of this, I’ll present HF 1204, a bill to help school districts prevent school sexual harassment and sex discrimination. We will also consider bills addressing topics such as student mental health, comprehensive sex education, radon testing, and background checks for first-time teaching applicants. Our hearing is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. tomorrow and video streaming will be available here and updates will be posted on the committee's Twitter account as well.

Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email 
me any time.


Laurie Pryor
State Representative