Friends and Neighbors,
Last Friday began our Easter/Passover break at the legislature, so there will be no legislative business happening at the Capitol this week. I hope the holidays have given you the opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones!
Last week was the second deadline week at the legislature. In order for a policy bill to continue going through the legislative process and ultimately have a chance to become law, it must be approved by committees in both the House and the Senate by the second deadline. This made for another busy week of committee hearings and many late nights at the Capitol.
Once legislators return from break, we’ll have a clearer picture of the eventual outcome of bills on the major issues as well as the legislation I am personally working on.
Strengthening DWI Penalties
I am authoring a bill this session to strengthen DWI penalties. Current law states that when a person gets a DWI on an ATV/snowmobile they lose their privileges to ride for one year, and also incur the penalties associated with getting a DWI in a car. Right now, however, the reverse is not true. Currently, if a person gets a DWI on the road they incur those penalties, but their ATV/snowmobiling privileges are unaffected. My bill simply links these DWIs so the appropriate penalties are incurred.
In addition, when an individual is convicted of a DWI on an ATV or snowmobile, they can be exempted from the penalties associated with their driver’s license if it is a first offense. This bill eliminates that first time exemption.
I realized the need to take legislative action to close this loophole following the tragic death of an 8-year-old boy as a result of injuries sustained when struck by a snowmobile operated by an intoxicated man with multiple DWIs and multiple license revocations. I don’t want to see another innocent life lost because of these loopholes, and that’s why I am committed to doing what we can in the legislature to prevent future tragedies.
My bill has successfully passed through the committee process in the House and its next stop will be the House floor for a full debate. I am proud to say that this bill has the support of ATV clubs, Minnesota United Snowmobile Association, and the DNR. I will continue working hard to get this important bill across the finish line in the weeks ahead.
Last Thursday, House Republicans unveiled a school safety package designed to ensure the security of Minnesota’s schools. 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.
Here is a brief rundown of the initiatives that are currently advancing through the committee process and will be included in this package:
- 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 authored.
- Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies, authored by myself.
- 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.
I am pleased that we are advancing this comprehensive school safety proposal this session. As legislators, we owe it to our children to pass meaningful legislation to secure our schools and help prevent school violence. These bills have a broad, bipartisan backing, and I look forward to continuing to support them.
Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to contact me so far. As session continues, please feel free to reach out with any questions or thoughts that you have on any matter of state government. I value the input I receive from constituents, as it helps me to best represent our communities.