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

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Legislative Update - May 9, 2019

Thursday, May 9, 2019
Dear Neighbors,

This week I had the opportunity to visit with students from Carleton College. They had a keen interest in what we’re working on at the Legislature and I enjoyed showing them around the House Chamber.

I also want to offer congratulations to Walter Louis Barry for earning the honor of Eagle Scout. To earn his award, Walter completed a courtyard landscaping project at Minnetonka Middle School. I had the opportunity to present him with a House Resolution commemorating his achievement.


Less than two weeks to go in the legislative session

Here’s an update on some major items under consideration at the Capitol.

Higher Education

Deep concern about the affordability of college education is something I’ve heard about from many families throughout my time serving in the Minnesota House. To reach their potential, all Minnesotans deserve the ability to earn a degree or career training without massive student loan debt.

This session I served as the Vice Chair of the House Higher Education Committee. We were student-focused, working to strengthen quality and affordability. Our House DFL Higher Education budget reflects this approach with a tuition freeze for the next two years at all of our state’s public colleges and universities. The budget also increases investments in the Minnesota State Grant Program. These are just two of the steps we can take to ensure young Minnesotans have the ability to explore their ambitions and passions, and ultimately find a rewarding career.


E-12 Education

The House has approved a strong budget for E-12 Schools with needed investments for students across the state. Statewide, the budget includes average increases in the per-pupil funding formula of three and two percent respectively the next two years, more funding for special education (to address the failure of the federal government to fund their commitment in this area), and additional investments in support personnel like school counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers. Our budget will help ensure all children in Minnesota can access a quality education. A fact sheet is available here.


With increases of only about a half-percent each of the next two years, the Minnesota Senate’s proposal falls far short of what students, families, and teachers are counting on. Under their proposal, significant numbers of teachers would be laid off, class sizes would increase, and educational program opportunities would be decimated. For our state to have a strong outlook, Minnesotans depend on a strong education for everyone. I remain committed to delivering that for our students this session.

Protecting Our Environment

All Minnesotans deserve clean water, fresh air, the other natural resources which make Minnesota an excellent place to live, including strong fish and wildlife habitats. Our House DFL Environment and Natural Resource budget protects, restores, and enhances these. It includes protections against emerald ash borer, chronic wasting disease, and aquatic invasive species.

The budget also includes other measures to keep our water clean, it strengthens pollinator habitats, includes a ban on toxic flame retardant chemicals, and improves waste management practices for tires, carpets, and other materials. It also takes a significant step in expanding outdoor activities by including grants to the “No Child Left Inside” initiative. This initiative would fund outdoor environmental, ecological, and natural resource-based programs for youth who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these opportunities. All Minnesotans would also benefit from a new Minnesota Outdoor Recreation Office, which would promote and increase participation, work towards equitable and inclusive access, and support the outdoor recreation economy.

These measures are on top of steps we’ve taken in our Energy budget, which looks out for our environment through a 100% renewable energy goal by 2050. Just this week, a U.N. report was released highlighting the risk of extinction for up to one million species and the catastrophic effect this would have for human survival. To meaningfully address the impact of climate change, we have a responsibility to act boldly and this new energy goal is one way to do this.

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. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.


Laurie Pryor
State Representative