It was a sad day for public education

The following column by Sen. Steve Cwodzinski was posted on the Eden Prairie News website April 19, 2017:

One of the saddest days of my teaching career was having to walk through the doors of Eden Prairie High School the day after the community defeated a referendum. The defeat told me that as a teacher, I wasn’t valued. That feeling permeated the classrooms of the school that week.

And, recently, that feeling has come back after seeing the lack of investments in the Senate education bill. While there were a lot of good items in the bill, such as language on suicide prevention and streamlining teacher licensure, I still chose to vote no.

Minnesota has historically valued public education — and the Legislature has put its money where its mouth is by making important investments that have helped our state achieve great things. Even our state constitution explicitly states that it is the duty of the Legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public education.

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Reality Check: The Cost Of Subsidized Transit

The following article by Pat Kessler was posted on the WCCO TV website April 12, 2017:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Legislature is preparing deep budget cuts to Twin Cities transit systems, especially light rail.

Critics say taxpayers pay millions of dollars a year to subsidize every passenger.

While it’s true that taxpayers subsidize every passenger on the light rail, it’s less than you think and less than other common transit systems, like suburban buses.

The Met Council crunched the numbers at the request of the House Transportation Policy Committee. It figured in the operating expenses, passenger fares, the number of passengers, and the hours of service. The results might stop you in your tracks. (more…)

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April, 2017 Notice of Vacancies in State Boards, Councils and Committees

OFFICE OF THE MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE
Steve Simon

Notice of Vacancies in State Boards, Councils and Committees

April 18, 2017 — The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State today released notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees that are accepting applications. Minnesotans are encouraged to apply and serve in demonstration of public service. The newest vacancies are listed below, and the full list of 527 vacancies can be found on our website Open Positions.

Applications may be submitted online, and must be submitted within 21 days of the “Publish Date” listed on our Open Positions page, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. Appointing authorities may choose to review applications received by the Secretary of State after the 21 day application period. (more…)

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Senate DFL Mid-Session Update: April 7, 2017

April 7, 2017

Republicans show where their values lie: underwhelming budget bills in favor of large tax cuts for corporations and the very wealthy

Senators and staff put in plenty of long hours in the two weeks leading up to the start of Easter/Passover break. The Senate dedicated time to passing all major budget bills in late March and early April. The discussions were at times contentious and floor debates in one case went until three in the morning on a bill many DFL senators found particularly egregious. Many of the bills passed fly in the face of Minnesota values of fairness, caring for vulnerable neighbors, and supporting Minnesota’s schools. (more…)

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Leader Hortman’s “White Male” Comments on the Minnesota House Floor

We guess that “snowflake” term being tossed about on the conservative side of the political mindset in this country could well be applied to these white, male Minnesota state legislators who seem to have no clue of what racism — or sexism for that matter — is. Their own words clearly show that lack of understanding and compassion along with a firm belief that white males are above others in the social strata.

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Taxpayers must not pay for religious education

The following commentary by Steve Kelley was posted on the Star Tribune website April 3, 2017:

Heed James Madison’s warnings on these contentious proposals.

Proposals to have taxpayers pay for religious education are being pushed in Washington and St. Paul. These voucher plans should be resisted. Our opposition should be based on arguments that can ultimately help us overcome our current polarization and recognize that shared American values can guide us.

For more than 200 years, Americans have fought for public schools that uphold the values of religious freedom, equality, and social cohesion. For guidance, we can look back to our beginning. (more…)

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Statement from DFL Chairman Ken Martin on Last Night’s Floor Session

“Rep. Greg Davids (R-Presston) has called for an apology from House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman for voicing the frustration that many Minnesotans feel: that women, and particularly women of color, are ignored.

“Rep. Hortman’s comments bring attention to the fact that it is not only women of color who are being ignored this session by Republicans’ actions, it is the thousands of disabled and vulnerable Minnesotans who will lose life-changing services; at-risk youth who will start school far behind their peers without an expansion in universal pre-school; and workers who rely on transit to get to and from work to provide for their families.

“If anyone is owed an apology this session, it is the Minnesotans who will be hurt by the Republicans’ proposed budget.”

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People of Color and Indigenous Caucus Statement on the Passage of Anti-Protest Legislation

The following statement from the Minnesota House of Representatives People of Color and Indigenous Caucus was released April 3, 2017:

Following a contentious Minnesota House of Representatives debate on the Omnibus Public Safety Bill (SF 803/HF 896), the People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus released the following joint statement:

“Instead of taking time to listen to the legitimate racial justice concerns of Minnesotans, Republicans instead chose to silence our voices. Criminalizing free speech is fundamentally un-American, and this anti-protest bill shamefully punishes any Minnesotan who dares to speak truth to power about the reality of racial inequality in our state.

“Peaceful protest and the freedom of speech serve as the foundation of American democracy. Today the POCI Caucus stood up for the First Amendment by voting as a bloc against this spiteful and discriminatory legislation. We call upon the conference committee to strip this language from the public safety bill.”

The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus is a new caucus first formed in 2017 and includes Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Peggy Flanagan (46A), Erin Maye Quade (57A), Fue Lee (59A), Ilhan Omar (60B), Susan Allen (62B), Rena Moran (65A), and Carlos Mariani (65B).

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April 3, 2017 Notice of Vacancies in State Boards, Councils and Committees

OFFICE OF THE MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE
Steve Simon

Notice of Vacancies in State Boards, Councils and Committees

April 3, 2017 — The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State today released notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees that are accepting applications. Minnesotans are encouraged to apply and serve in demonstration of public service. The newest vacancies are listed below, and the full list of 515 vacancies can be found on our website Open Positions.

Applications may be submitted online, and must be submitted within 21 days of the “Publish Date” listed on our Open Positions page, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. Appointing authorities may choose to review applications received by the Secretary of State after the 21 day application period. (more…)

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