Happy Easter and Happy Passover to you and your family. I hope you are able to enjoy some time celebrating this weekend with your loved ones.
My colleagues and I are wrapping up another busy deadline week today. There will be no legislative business at the Capitol next week, as we are off for our Easter/Passover break. Once legislators return after the break, the pace will start to pick up even more at the Capitol. At this point, we will have a clearer picture of what bills will continue their way through the legislative process and have a chance to ultimately be signed into law.
Among the issues the legislature will be addressing during the remainder of session will be statewide bonding projects. Like last year’s, any bonding bill we pass this year will be geographically balanced and focused heavily on local infrastructure and transportation projects.
Another matter that will be at the forefront is federal tax conformity. The House tax committee has held numerous hearings and done extensive research in order to determine the best plan to conform to the recently changed federal tax code. As we unveil our tax conformity proposal after the break, we will focus on avoiding a tax increase for Minnesotans as well as preventing headaches for filers next spring.
I will also personally be working on child protection legislation during the remainder of session. Bills to fight sex trafficking, better train child protection workers, and educate foster parents on fetal alcohol syndrome, are a few that I am looking to get across the finish line this session. These bills are important steps in our state’s ongoing efforts to protect vulnerable children, and I am proud to advocate for them in the legislature.
School Safety Package
This morning, House Republicans unveiled a legislative package designed to protect our schools and students. The proposal includes resources for the hiring of more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals, in addition to making vital building security upgrades.
The following bills are currently advancing through the committee process and will be included in a larger proposal:
- School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools
- School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems
- School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids
- Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies
- Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress
- School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff
In my conversations with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, it has become clear that school safety is a priority for everyone. As lawmakers, we owe it to our children to pass meaningful legislation to stop school violence and secure our schools. These bills have a broad, bipartisan backing, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for them.
MinneMinds Advocacy for Children Day
I had the privilege this morning of speaking at a rally in the Capitol for MinneMinds Advocacy for Children Day. MinneMinds is an organization dedicated to advocating for the importance of childcare and education for Minnesota’s youngest children. Ensuring access to high quality childcare and education for every child in our state stands as a key component to best preparing our students for the future.
Fish Fry Friday
With Lent almost over, tomorrow is your last chance to get in on Fish Fry Friday. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, be sure to stop by the American Legion in Little Falls tomorrow evening from 5:00-8:00pm for a fish fry.
Please Contact Me
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any thoughts or questions on any legislative issues. I welcome your feedback and input as it allows me to best represent our communities.
Have a great weekend,