Sen. Cwodzinski Update: February 24, 2017

Week of February 19 – 25

Preventing Gun Violence

Yesterday, on February 23, a group of legislators including Jeff Hayden and Ron Latz joined with several police chiefs, the Hennepin County Attorney, respected gun violence prevention advocates, and families affected by gun violence to announced the introduction of three bills to address our growing problem of gun violence.

The first bill, The Taylor Hayden Gun Violence Prevention Act, is designed to reduce the number of injuries and deaths of innocent victims of gun violence. Through a competitive bidding process, the legislation appropriates $400,000 to community organizations with expertise in gun violence prevention. This bill is in honor of Senator Jeff Hayden’s late sister, Taylor, who was killed last August by a bullet intended for someone else, and who would have turned 26 this week.

The second bill would allow law enforcement and family members to petition the courts to prohibit people from possessing a gun if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. I am a co-author on this common-sense legislation and will do my utmost to see it passed.

The third bill requires background checks for all firearm transfers. There are currently no background checks if a private citizen wants to sell a gun to another person. This change would make sure the same background checks currently in place when buying a gun from a store also happen when a private gun sale is made, such as at a gun show.In the coming weeks, I will be working to support all three of these bills by talking with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Gun violence prevention should not be a partisan issue, and I truly believe that we can get something done this year.

First Bill Hearing Coming Up

This coming Tuesday, I will be presenting my first bill since being sworn in. Senate File 1061, which would require all students to take a civics course in high school, is being heard in the E-12 Policy Committee. I spoke about this bill a little in last week’s video, which can be found HERE. I look forward to thoughtful discussion on this proposal in committee, and as we move forward in the legislative session.

Former Students Advocating for ChangeThis was truly an amazing week at the capitol. I got to meet with 7 former students of mine when they came in to advocate for various policies. The first group to visit was Alexander Modeas and Nafisa Ibrahim. Alex is now a student at St. Johns, and Nafisa is studying at St. Scholastica. They both came in on Private College Day to talk about making higher education affordable.

Later on Wednesday, I met with two Eden Prairie High School seniors to talk about school counselors and support staff funding. Michelle Nguyen and Quyn Vu were both amazing students, and even better advocates. I know they will be going places.Thursday continued to be incredible, when several physical therapy students in my district came in to visit. Two of whom turned out to be former students of mine, Laura Deshotels and Jamie Nichols. We discussed some of their legislative priorities, and I learned a lot of new information.

The last former student visit of the week happened completely spontaneously. Paul Gustafson, a student of mine back in 1989, was in for Builder and Realtor Day at the Capitol. After meeting with his state senator (he no longer lives in Eden Prairie) he swung by my office and we had a few minutes to chat between meetings. Each of these meetings were highlights of my week, and I look forward to many more.

Meet Your Local Electeds!

Tomorrow, Saturday February 25, Representative Laurie Pryor and myself will be hosting a legislative town hall from 10am – 12pm at the Glen Lake Activity Center (14350 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka,55345). Be sure to stop by for thoughtful conversation and a chance to meet some of your neighbors!