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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cindy Pugh (R)

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Legislative Update (Oct. 2, 2015)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friends and neighbors,

Thank you for your feedback following my last email update! I greatly appreciate hearing from you, my valued constituents. It is a great honor to serve you in St. Paul. The weather has turned cool and crisp since I’ve last written and beautiful fall color is appearing throughout our district, too. I’d like to begin this update by sharing just a couple of the many events I’ve recently attended, as well as heighten your awareness of several important issues to watch for in the coming months.

Out and About

Last week, I was privileged to have been part of the Minnesota delegation which joined legislators from the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces at the annual Great Lakes Legislative Caucus in Buffalo, New York. Legislators convened to discuss issues related to preserving this important regional asset. Although I learned so much more, the segment relating to aquatic invasive species was especially relevant to our state and district and the primary reason driving my decision to attend. Meeting and building relationships with legislators from other states who are dealing with similar challenges and have more experience navigating the legislative process was especially rewarding. I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to maintain our beautiful Minnesota lakes for generations to come!

On Sunday, I attended the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Ceremony on the grounds of the Capitol. The weather was picture perfect and the gigantic American flag attached to the extended ladders of two fire trucks was a sight to behold! It was wonderful to see so many fire fighters from our area at this very special annual event which is held the last Sunday of September each year. From Chanhassen to the South Lake Minnetonka Fire District to Mound, our communities are blessed and grateful for the selfless service our fire fighters provide to ensure our safety.

Earlier this week, members of the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee participated in an all-day tour of three of Minnesota’s seventeen private colleges – the University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine University, and Augsburg College. We heard from administrators and professors who shared their mission and vision, as well as from students who were grateful recipients of grants funded by the legislature through the state grant program. From the state-of-the-art facilities to exceptional curriculum focused on providing students with all they’ll need to be successful in today’s global economy, our campus experiences were very enlightening! And one fun note – although I’ve never considered myself as anything but a University of Wisconsin “Badger”, it was brought to my attention that as a graduate of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s FastTrac program at the University of St. Thomas, I am a “Tommie”, too!

Tuesday’s tour of the House and Senate Higher Education Committees convened at the University of Minnesota where participants attended – and graduated from – “mini-medical school”. We received a small glimpse of what it takes to become a student at one of the nation’s top medical institutions and then all it takes (years of education, financial resources and sacrifice – to mention a few) to actually become a practicing doctor. We heard from instructors and students, toured the facilities, and participated in hands-on learning activities. My favorite part was interacting with current medical students and their professors. What an eye-opening experience which gave me an even greater appreciation for the many world-class medical professionals dedicated to ensuring our health and well-being right here in Minnesota!

Here’s a picture of me wearing my “Mini Med School” white coat with Dr. Brooks Jackson.


You’ve likely read about or have seen a news story regarding Minnesota’s lack of compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. Our state is one of a handful of states yet to comply as a result of a 2009 law passed by the legislature prohibiting REAL ID enactment in Minnesota. Support for the bipartisan bill resulted over concern for the amount of private information that would be stored and which could possibly become accessible. As a member of the Civil Law Committee last biennium, I was and continue to be a strong privacy advocate for Minnesota citizens.

A concern for many surrounds Minnesotans flying on commercial airlines without this new ID. Legislators met with the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday and it’s highly likely an extension will be granted if Minnesota takes steps to evaluate and implement REAL ID. The bipartisan Data Practices Commission is planning to discuss REAL ID prior to the 2016 legislative session and I expect it will be a central topic of the Civil Law and Data Practices Committee when the legislature reconvenes in March. As we learn more about this issue, my goal will be to ensure that your private data remains just that: private.

Sherco Power Plant

I’ve received a number of emails and calls from constituents regarding President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the impact it could have on Minnesotans. The House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee recently held a hearing in Becker and toured the nearby Sherco Xcel Energy Power Plant to discuss this very issue. Sherco provides approximately one-quarter of our state’s energy needs and is home to hundreds of good-paying jobs. This plant also provides inexpensive power options when compared to less cost-effective forms of energy. As we head toward the 2016 legislative session, we must look for ways to ensure that Minnesotans aren’t forced to pay more on their monthly bills, and that we protect the jobs of our hard-working neighbors, as well.

School News

The 2015-16 school year is well underway and it’s great to see all the school spirit and community support around our district! From the #TonkaStrong yard signs proudly displayed in many neighborhoods, to Mound Westonka students wearing pink to “tackle cancer,” to Chanhassen High School rallying behind their top ten-ranked girls’ soccer team, our district is home to inspiring school and community spirit. Our young people are involved, working together, and excelling in academics, athletics, and other after-school programs. We have reason to be very proud of all that is taking place within the exceptional schools throughout our district!

Since it is October, already (where did September go?!), we’re quickly approaching Election Day, November 3rd, which will impact a number of our local school districts. Minnetonka and Eastern Carver County School Districts are among those that have proposed ballot initiatives. Please plan to take part in the process by exercising your right to vote on November 3rd. If you would like more information about the ballot questions you will see, feel free to click here.

For those who reside in the Eastern Caver County School District 112, there will be two informational meetings in the coming days to learn more about the district's projected needs and specifically, the upcoming ballot questions.

New Construction Open House

Tuesday, October 6 -- 5:30-7 pm

Chaska Middle School East


Virtual Town Hall Meeting (online)

Monday, October 12 -- 7-8 pm

More information at

Coming Up

Next week, I’ll be heading to Charleston, South Carolina for a legislative conference, Advanced Technology and Innovations Summit, hosted by Women in Government. Female legislators from across the country will convene to discuss topics ranging from policy regarding drones to student data privacy to the implications of the federal Clean Air Act on states. I look forward to meeting new legislators, reconnecting with others I’ve previously met, and sharing the best ideas which may positively impact our state in the future.

Please continue to reach out to me to share your thoughts on the issues that concern you and your family. I welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you! You can schedule an appointment to meet with me by calling my Legislative Assistant, Emily, at (651) 297-5723, or feel free to email me at Please also consider encouraging your friends and neighbors to stay informed about some of what’s happening at the legislature. If interested, they may sign up for my email updates here.

Have a wonderful weekend!