Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: May 25, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

We are currently in day four of what was to be a one day special session to finish work on the state budget. After a few “extra innings,” so to speak, it looks like we may conclude the session today.

Late Monday night a framework for an agreement was reached between Gov. Dayton and Republican legislative leaders, and a commitment was made to finish the work by 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. This was clearly overly optimistic as the health and human services bill was finally released just this afternoon. Monday night, the Tax and E-12 education bills were passed, yesterday we passed a transportation bill, and left on the to-do list are HHS, state government finance, and bonding bills. (more…)

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Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: May 19, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with some bright, engaging junior high students from Hopkins. It’s always encouraging to spend time with young people from our community and hear their ideas for good legislation while also sharing some of my experiences from the State Capitol.

 

If you plan to come by with a group taking a field trip or other visit to the Capitol, please let me know; I’d love to say hello. (more…)

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Sen. Steve Cwodzinski Update: May 12, 2017

Week of May 7th – 13th

Governor Dayton Vetoes Uncompromising Legislation

Friday afternoon Governor Dayton vetoed five pieces of legislation that were solely GOP-designed, without any effort to compromise. Last year, I was disappointed in the partisan division we saw at the end of session, and so it is only more discouraging to see bills sent to the Governor with minimal DFL support (sometimes none at all).

Here are the bills that were vetoes, along with the Governor’s veto letter explaining why: (more…)

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Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: May 12, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

There are just 11 days remaining in the 2017 legislative session. At this time last year, I was not a member of the Legislature. I was simply someone watching the process from the outside. Frankly, I was alarmed at the gridlock and unwillingness to compromise. The stage was set for a frantic end to the session and the risk of not passing bonding, transportation, and other important bills. You may remember that this is exactly what happened when legislation, riddled with errors, was considered in the final minutes of the session without meaningful input from the public or even time to know what was in a bill before voting.

Based on events this week, I’m fearful that House Republicans are leading us down a similar path. Gov. Mark Dayton released his budget proposals earlier this year, and within the last months the Republicans in the House and Senate Majorities laid out theirs in a series of omnibus budget bills. Gov. Dayton and his commissioners have been reaching out to legislators to let them know his priorities as well as items to which he objects. (more…)

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Sen. Steve Cwodzinski Update: May 5, 2017

Week of April 30 – May 7

Backroom Deals Lead GOP Legislators to Remove Internet Privacy Provisions

Earlier this year, the House and Senate voted in favor of provisions that would limit what internet service providers could do with their customers’ data. Now, these provisions have been entirely removed from the conference committee report in a backroom deal between just two legislators. I am incredibly disappointed that my Republican colleagues are sacrificing Minnesotan’s privacy. There’s still a chance that these provisions could make their way into the final bill so I am holding out hope. (more…)

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Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: May 4, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Recently on the House Floor, we celebrated Arbor Day. As part of an annual tradition, several of my colleagues presented each of us with a Red Pine. The Red Pine, sometimes referred to as a Norway Pine, is Minnesota’s State Tree and can live several hundred years and reach well over 100 feet tall.

With trees lasting over the course of many generations, this can serve as a good reminder to legislators that the decisions we make can have long ranging effects. (more…)

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Sen. Steve Cwodzinski Update: April 28, 2017

Week of April 23rd – 29th

Budget targets as a reflection of values

Senate and House Republicans released budget numbers today that move more than $200 million further away from Governor Dayton’s budget. Additionally, instead of using the February budget forecast, GOP leadership is using budget numbers from last year in an effort to portray their numbers as budget increases. This does not account for growth that was already projected, such as additional pupil units in education, and strikes me as deliberately dishonest math. (more…)

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Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: April 27, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

With just over three weeks to go in the legislative session, the House/Senate conference committees are negotiating final budget bills and the clock is ticking. We all know some compromise is necessary to bridge the differences between competing interests. We also know that the final budget should reflect the values and priorities of this great state. I remain committed to passing a budget that takes care of critical needs such as a quality education for all our students, protection of our natural resources, effective tools to improve economic opportunity, and tax policies that are fair to everyone. The current omnibus bills passed by the Republican majority fall short of these goals. We have our work cut out for us between now and midnight May 22.

In addition to the important budget bills, I’d like to highlight the need to pass two other critical bills for this session: (more…)

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Sen. Steve Cwodzinski Update: April 21, 2017

Week of April 16 – 23, 2017

Refining Educator Licensure, the Good and the Bad

A bill to revamp the state’s Board of Teaching and create a tiered educator licensing system was debated and passed off the floor of the Senate on Thursday, April 20. This language was also included in the E-12 education finance bill, but this version of it stands alone and separated from general funding measures.

While well-intentioned, this legislation seriously changes the alternative teacher preparation provider requirements, making it easier for an alternative program, such as Teach for America, to be established in Minnesota. I very supportive of getting young people into the teaching profession, however these changes could threaten teacher preparation quality. Concerns include elimination of student teaching requirement for alternative preparation candidates, mandatory teacher prep program approval with minimum educator standards, and removal of higher education partnership requirement. Additionally, there was nothing in the bill to make sure that young people stay in the profession once they are in it. (more…)

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