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

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Legislative Update - March 13, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
I’m grateful for the constituents who continue to come to the State Capitol to advocate for issues they are passionate about. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with Aline and Marcia, two school psychologists in our community.

I was honored to have Eden Prairie School Superintendent Dr. Josh Swanson testify in favor of HF 514, my bill to increase investments in school safety.

Students from the University of Minnesota – Duluth made the trip down to the Capitol to discuss their mental health campaign dubbed “Band Together.” As an added treat, they brought the UMD NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship trophy and ring to the meeting!

I also got to meet with a couple of constituents from Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota, a grassroots organization working to improve the availability of screening, intervention, and tools for students experiencing dyslexia.

This week at the State Capitol is likely to be one of the busiest ones this session as our first committee deadline is Friday. This means committee agendas will be jam-packed with bills as legislators are working to advance legislation. Here are updates on other items of note.
Great Start for All Minnesota Children
All Minnesota kids deserve to get the best start possible. House File 1, the Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act, expands opportunities to ensure this in several different ways. The “Great Start Act” makes new investments in early learning, child care, prenatal care, and home visiting. Last week in the House Early Childhood Division, we gave the bill its first public hearing, with a focus on the “Great Start Fund” created by the legislation. The fund will increase the availability of learning scholarships focused on children from birth to age 3, addressing both Minnesota’s opportunity gap and high child care costs.
The committee heard from parents who have benefited from the investments Minnesota has previously made in both early education and child care. Unfortunately, the waiting list for child care for families receiving assistance from the Child Care Assistance Program is over 2,000 families. Thirty organizations have already signed on to support this important initiative. As a proud co-author of this legislation, I'm committed to delivering for our youngest Minnesotans.
Early Childhood Workforce
We recently traveled to St. Cloud for a unique hearing held jointly by the House Early Childhood Division and the House Jobs and Economic Development Division. During this hearing, we discussed some challenges in early childhood learning, including the high number of unfilled job openings that has resulted in an unmet need for childcare. This scarcity has a negative impact on local economies.
We heard a number of ideas that could be used to attract and retain qualified Minnesotans to the field. More opportunities for education and professional development, tax credits, and tuition support all can help develop this workforce.
Equal Rights Amendment
All Minnesotans deserve equality regardless of gender. On Thursday, the Minnesota House passed HF 13, which, if approved by voters in the 2020 general election, would amend the state constitution to guarantee this. The Equal Rights Amendment is an effort decades in the making, ensuring everyone can have opportunities in employment, education, and in any other area of life. On Friday, International Women’s Day, there was a celebration of this historic step forward in the State Capitol rotunda.

It’s now up to the Minnesota Senate, with Republicans in the majority, to decide if this measure will be put to voters as a ballot question next November to ensure equal rights for all.
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