I hope everyone has had a great start to the new school year! This time of year is always a little bittersweet. We have so much fun together during the summer that it’s hard when my kids have to go back to school!
The student resource officer (SRO) issue continues to be a major issue for many communities. In my last newsletter, I outlined the changes made last session to the student disciplinary policy that now make it harder for SROs to keep our students and teachers safe at school. Pressure is mounting for the Governor to call the legislature back for a special session. In an unheard-of move, the Star Tribune Editorial Board even published two editorials agreeing with Republicans – schools and law enforcement need clarity now as kids begin a new academic year. We cannot wait until February to fix this problem.
Despite calls from across Minnesota to change this policy, 44 House and Senate Democrat members released a statement yesterday saying they do not support a special session. Let's be clear: These Democrats do not support a special session because fixing this issue is against their anti-law enforcement agenda. They do not want cops in schools, even though our SROs perform a valuable role in building trusting relationships with students and protecting them in emergencies.
Governor Walz conceded over the weekend that we “may be right” in needing a special session. The safety of our students and teachers is always going to be my priority. I hope we can return to St. Paul soon so we can keep our schools safe. You can read the Star Tribune editorials here and here. I will continue to update you as this issue develops.
Teacher Union Opt-Out Window
In the aftermath of the Janus Supreme Court decision, teachers now have the ability to opt-out of the union. Teachers can end their membership with Education Minnesota, but they must do so before September 30th.
The process to opt-out of the union can be daunting, but Center of the American Experiment is hosting a free webinar for teachers this Saturday, September 9, at 10am. You can learn more and register for this event here. The Educated Teachers website is also a great resource if you need help sending your opt-out letter or want answers to frequently asked questions.
State Disaster Assistance Authorized
This week, Governor Walz authorized state disaster assistance for Pope county, as well as Kandiyohi and Stevens counties, in response to the severe thunderstorms, high winds, and a tornado we experienced July 25-26. This assistance will help our region recover from damage caused by this storm.
The state disaster assistance authorization will allow the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to do the following:
- Allocate state disaster assistance funds;
- Provide public assistance to Pope, Kandiyohi, and Stevens counties;
- Provide additional assistance if requested by a local government and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Bonding Tour Dates Set
Dates for the fall bonding tour have been set, and I am looking forward to traveling the state with my fellow members of the Capital Investment Committee. This is always a fun trip as we visit different communities across Minnesota and learn about projects critical to that region.