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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Friday, March 6, 2015

ST. PAUL – A number of bills important to southwestern Minnesotans are receiving favorable responses in the Minnesota House according to State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne)

“This is the time of year when local bills begin to receive strong debate, and I’m pleased that several of them I’m sponsoring for our district are seeing positive feedback and moving forward in the legislative process,” Schomacker said.

Schomacker’s bill that would appropriate $846,000 to the Casey Jones Trail has been approved by the House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee and will now be heard in the Government and Natural Resources Policy Committee.

The trail spans four counties and stretches more than 120 miles, and the priority for this funding is land acquisition and development. Supporters say the trail will become a destination and draw visitors from areas beyond our region.

Legislation that would use $60,000 in Legacy funds to help expand the Fulda Heritage Society was held over for possible inclusion in the Minnesota House Legacy Funding Finance proposal that will be unveiled later this session. The funds for this project would be used to expand the Society’s display area so it could include donated artifacts and preserve the Fulda area’s history.

The House Education Innovation Policy Committee has also approved a local request that would exempt the Hendricks School District from Minnesota’s tuition reciprocity statute.

Under current law, a South Dakota student who enrolls in a Minnesota district receives general education revenue in the same manner as an open-enrolled student. The general education revenue is paid by the state of Minnesota directly to the serving Minnesota school district. If a Minnesota resident enrolls in a South Dakota school district, the state of South Dakota pays school revenue directly to that district under South Dakota’s school funding system. At the end of the year, the states of South Dakota and Minnesota settle up, and the state with a net loss of students (currently Minnesota) pays the other state an amount equal to the net loss in students times the average general education revenue per student as measured in the serving districts.

This proposal will now be heard in the Minnesota House Education Finance Committee.