Reflections on an outstanding 1st session

The 2017 legislative session has truly been one of the most remarkable parts of my life.

For 33 years, I taught high school students bout how government works, and yet I am still awestruck by all the things I have learned in just five months. Much of what I have learned has been from my own constituents. I have also been incredibly impressed by how may of my former students have walked through my door. (more…)

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Legislature needs to commit to openness

For the third consecutive year, the time allotted by the Minnesota Constitution was not quite enough for the Legislature to finish its work. Despite a $1.65 billion surplus and a clear to-do list, another special session was needed.

Negotiations for this special session were between a handful of Republican legislative leaders and the DFL governor, leaving most of us legislators — and most of Minnesota — in the dark. Regrettably, this Washington, D.C., style of politics seems to be taking over in St. Paul more each year. At the 11th hour, sprawling budget bills turned up with harmful provisions inserted and good policies removed. When sleep-deprived legislators start voting on bills in late-night sessions, insiders usually gain, the public often loses, and no one is held accountable. (more…)

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Rep. Laurie Pryor Update: June 1, 2017

Rep. Laurie Pryor (48A) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you all had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. We can be grateful for the opportunity to reflect on and recognize the sacrifices made by brave Americans in our military and enjoy the time with family and friends.

The 2017 Minnesota Legislative Session ended last week. Because a full 70% of the state budget had not been passed before the constitutional deadline of midnight Monday, Governor Dayton called for a special session to finish the remaining work. Now that the dust has largely settled, I’d like to point out some of the highlights as well as lowlights. (more…)

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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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