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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 4, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
I’m grateful for all the input I’ve received so far as a state legislator and for experts in various issue areas sharing their insight with me. Recently I got to take a tour of the Wellstone Center and hear from staff at Range Mental Health. Resources for those experiencing mental illness and addiction are far too few, and on the Range we have a particular shortage of beds. RMH’s innovative telemedicine approach will enable those who need help to get it fast. I’ve co-authored legislation expanding the availability of school-linked mental health services, including delivery by telemedicine.

The Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS) has also organized “Lunch Listen Learn with Lislegard.” This was a tremendous opportunity to get all sorts of folks together around one table to discuss their needs and how I can best be an advocate down in Saint Paul. I got to chat with representatives of organizations such as St. Louis County, Mountain Iron-Buhl and St. Louis County Schools, American Bank, Bill’s House, Lotus, the East Range Developmental Achievement Center, AEOA, the Northland Special Education District, American Bank, Legal Aid and the Virginia HRA.

Despite some bitterly cold temperatures it was another busy week down at the State Capitol. Not only were we open for business with productive committee hearings, but some terrific people from back home came down to say hello. These included fire chiefs from Aurora, Virginia, Hoyt Lakes, White Township, Eveleth, and Hibbing.

Some local officials also made the trek as part of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities annual advocacy day. Joining me were the likes of Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe, Virginia Fire Chief Allen Lewis, and Peter Makowski from Senator Tina Smith’s office.

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate Doug Gregor, also visiting the Capitol last week, who is now officially the new Mayor of the city of Aurora. He’s going to do a terrific job for our community!

Tom Rukavina Memorial Bridge
In my last update, I told you I’d have more to share about legislation I planned to introduce, and here you go: Thursday I officially introduced a bill to name the Highway 53 Bridge the “Tom Rukavina Memorial Bridge.” The bill would also deliver the $5.4 million of gap funding the city of Virginia has been waiting for to recoup their costs from the highway rerouting.
Carrying this bill is a tremendous honor and will serve not just to make the city of Virginia whole for their financial contributions to this massive project, but be a constant reminder about all of Tommy’s contributions over his lifetime of public service. I was pleased to have Rep. Frank Hornstein, chair of the House Transportation Committee and colleague of Tommy’s for a decade, sign on the bill co-author, and even joined me to drop the bill in “the hopper.”

That’s all for this week. Please continue to keep in touch with how I can best represent you. Call or email me any time, and don’t forget to “like” my official Facebook page. It’s an honor to serve.
Dave Lislegard
State Representative