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Legislative Update (2-27-15)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

I am excited to announce that I introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday aimed at improving the educational experience for students who attend the Minnesota State Academies.

House File 1224 provides funding to address necessary upgrades of hardware and software in classrooms, computer labs, and server rooms at the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind in Faribault.

Faribault is blessed to have the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind located here in our community. Both of these schools do a great job educating their students with the resources they have. Unfortunately, their computers and other equipment have not been updated in years. My bill brings much needed upgrades to the schools’ computer hardware, software and other technological equipment.

The Minnesota State Academies are in the business of removing barriers to education and standardizing technology used by and for their Deaf, Blind, Deaf/Blind, and Multi-handicapped Deaf and Blind students. Their need to keep equipment and software updated is extremely important. These upgrades will allow the academies to continue to provide specialized programming that meets the unique needs of its students.

Also taking place this week was the passage of House File 8. This bill, authored by Rep. Ron Kresha, includes two of the recommendations that came out of the 26-member Governor's Task Force on Child Protection earlier this year. This task force was established in response to the tragic case of four year old Starbuck resident, Eric Dean, who was killed by a relative as a result of abuse. This bill has two provisions that work to ensure child safety:

  • Places child health and safety as the paramount concern when making child protection decisions

  • Reverses a law passed in 2013 that barred consideration of screened-out reports in investigating abuse reports

This bill is a first step toward fixing Minnesota's child protection system and making sure no child slips through the cracks. I am happy that my colleagues and I were able to work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that our children are kept safe and every child is given the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams.

The House Aging and Long Term Care Committee held a hearing in Faribault today at the Faribault Senior Living facility. I was happy to welcome Chair Schomacker and the entire Aging and Long Term Care Committee to Faribault to learn about the needs and challenges facing nursing homes in our area. Our seniors and those who care for them deserve to be a priority and it is critical that we find solutions to ensure that we are able to retain quality care givers and that our seniors receive the best quality care available.

I will have a more in depth review of today’s hearing in next week’s update.

Thank you for taking the time to read my update for this week. It is an honor to represent you and our communities in St. Paul.

Please encourage your family, friends, or co-workers to sign up for my weekly email updates. They can sign up by visiting my official House page.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at You can also stay connected with me by visiting my Facebook page and my Twitter account.