Here are some of the things happening at the Capitol this week.
First, I want to thank the people who have already filled out my survey. If you have not yet had a chance to, I would love for you to share your opinions with me. I do my best to represent you in St. Paul, and would appreciate your input.
You can take my legislative survey here.
This week, House and Senate Democrats made a backdoor bargain to drastically raise the minimum wage in Minnesota in exchange for approval of a wasteful and extravagant $90 million Senate Legislative Office Building in St. Paul.
I understand there is a need to raise minimum wage in Minnesota, but this irresponsible increase to $9.50 an hour will have a negative effect on many small businesses and their employees. Instead of looking for a reasonable, bipartisan agreement to raise the minimum wage for Minnesota workers, DFL legislators chose to ram this through in exchange for an expensive palace for politicians.
The final deal will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour for most businesses, and $7.75 an hour for teenage employees and small businesses that make less than $500,000 a year. In 2018, the minimum wage will be tied to an automatic inflation adjuster that puts future increases on autopilot.
I fear what this minimum wage deal will mean for youth employment and small businesses in my district and across the state. Who is really benefiting in this tradeoff for a new, lavish Senate Legislative Office Building?
On Wednesday, Governor Dayton signed House File 826 into law. Also known as the Bullying Bill, it seems that advocates bullied this bill through the legislative process, ignoring the opposition of school districts across the state.
Under state law, all school districts are already required to have a bullying policy. This bill, however, takes away local flexibility to implement policies that work for their district, trading it in for a one size fits all model.
And what’s more, the price of implementing this legislation could cost Minnesota schools as much as $25 million per year. Taking time and money out of the classroom doesn’t help students.
Parents should also have serious reservations about this bill. Everyone wants their children to feel safe in school, but under this legislation parental notification is not required if there is a problem. Whether your child is a victim of bullying or being accused of bullying, schools are not required to inform parents. Protecting the privacy of children as well as allowing an adult to advocate on their behalf is important.
The flaws and unintended consequences of this bill will have a negative impact on our schools. I am strongly in favor of safe and supportive Minnesota schools, but believe that anti-bullying enforcement is better done at the local level by teachers, administrators and parents.
It is an honor to represent you in St. Paul. I will continue to work on your behalf at the Capitol.