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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)

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Legislative Update - April 15, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
It’s been a whirlwind of activity at the State Capitol as the finance bills comprising our Minnesota Values Budget are assembled. This week the Legislature is in recess for the observance of the Easter/Passover holidays. When we return next week, there will be about a month remaining to complete our work. There’s a lot of work still to do and I’m committed to delivering results that make our state work better for everyone.
I've visited with Eden Prairie neighbors recently advocating for diverse topics such as the Minnesota Green New Deal, sports gambling, veterans issues, and higher education.
I also had a few of my favorite constituents visit the Capitol recently: my husband accompanied me to the State of the State, and my children spent some quality time with Chair Jim Davnie of the Education Finance Committee and Chair Dave Pinto of the Early Childhood Committee on spring break and spring snow days!

Town Hall Meeting

Don’t forget about the SD48 Town Hall coming up Wednesday, April 17, with Sen. Steve Cwodzinski, Rep. Laurie Pryor, and me. We look forward to hearing your input about the issues that matter most to you. We will meet in the East Commons of Eden Prairie High School from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Everyone in the community is welcome, and the event is completely nonpartisan. I hope you can join us!

Education for Foster Children

We know all too well the long-term effects that trauma and disruption can have on children. When children are in foster care, they experience very little certainty in their lives and this bill seeks to minimize the time students spend away from school while moving between schools or school districts. On Monday, the House passed – in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion – HF 1883, my bill to require students in foster care be enrolled in school within seven school days of a new out-of-home placement. According to federal law, the student may remain enrolled in their school of origin even if their foster home is in another district if that is in the best interest of the child.
The legislation also requires the Department of Human Services to include information on these placements in a broader annual report on child maltreatment and on children in out-of-home placements. Missing school can cause academic difficulties for foster children and has been linked to delayed or lower rates of graduation.
On any given day, approximately 10,000 children are in out-of-home placement in Minnesota. Coming together to improve the lives of our brave and resilient but also most vulnerable children is one of the most important things we can do.

Historic Investments in World-Class Schools

Neighbors in Eden Prairie and all across Minnesota have been loud and clear that they value having world-class schools for their children to attend, not just to ensure a bright future for them, but one for our whole state. Unfortunately, state investments haven’t kept pace with what students deserve, leading to larger class sizes, teachers being laid off, and taxpayers being asked to contribute more in local property taxes.
Our House DFL Education budget makes honest and historic investments in learning at all levels. It renews our state’s commitment to schools with a per-pupil increase of three percent in the first year, and two percent in the second year of the biennium. It increases funding for key support personnel like school social workers, counselors, nurses and psychologists, includes new school mental health resources, and helps students earn college credit while still in high school.
I’m also excited by the investments in our youngest learners, as it incorporates the “Great Start for All Minnesota Children Act.” The “Great Start Act,” is House File 1, my bill with bold investments in early childhood education, child care assistance, and resources targeted to families with children from birth to age three, which is a significant stage in a child’s development, as well as prenatal care and home visiting. These strategies will help ensure every Minnesota child can truly have a great start on their journey of lifelong learning.
A fact sheet with more information on the House Education budget is available here.

Friday Fun Day

This Friday, April 19, Eden Prairie Community Education hosts the annual Friday Fun Day at the Lower Campus Preschool Center (8100 School Road) from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Activities include a vehicle fair (with a fire truck, police car, school bus, USPS mail truck, and garbage truck), open gym and playground, food trucks, crafts, and other activities. This also is a great opportunity for families to learn more about Early Childhood Family Education and Little Eagles Preschool options with Eden Prairie Schools. More information is available here.
Please continue to contact me with your input and ideas. I value hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime. It’s an honor to represent you.
Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn
State Representative