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

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Legislative Update - May 10, 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019
Dear Neighbors,
There is just over one week remaining in the 2019 legislative session. House/Senate conference committees are currently meeting to resolve differences between each chamber’s version of the state budget. House and Senate leaders, along with Governor Walz, are working to reach an overall agreement. I’m hopeful we can reach a compromise, conclude our session on time, and deliver results which will improve the lives of Minnesotans.

E-12 Education

For my part, I’ve been closely following the Conference Committee charged with coming to a conclusion on the E-12 Education budget. All students deserve the opportunity to attend world-class schools no matter where they live, what their background may be, or what they may look like. Our House DFL Education budget includes much-needed investments in all students across the state, increases funding for special education, and includes funding for more school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses. It also includes many components of my bill, the “Great Start for All Minnesota Children” Act with stronger investments in early childhood education.
Unfortunately, the Senate’s version of the Education budget falls far short of what our students and communities deserve, not even keeping up with inflation. The low funding levels are likely to lead to larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and property taxpayers being asked to contribute more through operating levy referendums. Here are the differences between the House and Senate Education budgets for Eden Prairie Schools over the next two years.

The contrast is clear. For our public schools to remain excellent, we need to deliver the funding they need, and I’m proud to support a budget that works to make our schools whole after many years of underfunding.

Credit Unions

While Conference Committees are meeting, we’re still busy passing bipartisan legislation on the House floor. Earlier this week, the House passed my bill, HF 1578, a technical bill that provides federal conformity for credit union mergers and charter conversions. It aligns state policy better to federal laws and doesn’t impact the voting rights of any of the 1.8 million credit union members in Minnesota. The House approved the legislation unanimously!


Argosy University Relief

Argosy University, a for-profit institution, closed suddenly in March leaving many students in limbo. Beyond the uncertainty for their education, the closing also left many students in financial peril. The legislation we approved will give the Office of Higher Education (OHE) the authority to release Argosy students from liability for any Minnesota SELF student loans for the spring 2019 semester, and pay them directly for other state financial aid. The state is also seeking to recoup money held for Minnesota students that is in receivership in Ohio Federal Court.
This was another occasion where on a bipartisan basis, we recognized when Minnesotans were wronged, and worked together to deliver a solution.

Students on Commissions

If you know any high school juniors or seniors interested in increasing their level of civic engagement, the Eden Prairie Students on Commissions program has some opportunities. The program allows students to contribute to their community in an official capacity, while gaining valuable insight about municipal government. Applications are being accepted for the 2019-2020 school year. Be sure to apply by May 24. For more information or to apply, click here.

Arts in the Park

Next Saturday, May 18, come to Purgatory Creek Park (13001 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie) for “Arts in the Park.” Artwork of all types created by local and regional artists will be available including glass, jewelry, paintings, wood, photography, sculptures and more. There will also be live entertainment, concessions, art activities, food trucks, wine and beer tasting, lawn games and more. Click here for more information.
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