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Legislative Update - May 27, 2015
Due to the late date in setting final targets by the House Majority, many thought it would not be possible to finish the legislative session on time. As it was, there would be no comprehensive Transportation Bill or Tax Bill this year, and some legislative work will go undone.
We were told the Jobs and Energy Conference Committee Bill would make it to the Floor of the House before we had to adjourn at midnight. The Senate was to send it over as soon as they finished with it. As it happened, the bill showed up just a few minutes before our mandated adjournment. Then the manner in which the Speaker tried to get it passed through before midnight resulted in confusion and chaos.
Prior to the chaotic ending on the last night of session, the Republican Majority failed to arrive at a compromise with the Governor on the Education Bill, and he vetoed it as he said he would. And this was after the Governor took preK out of the bill. So the dramatic ending was in vain.
I am very disappointed to report that there will be a special session in the coming weeks to resolve the unfinished business of this year's legislature. It is unclear when the special session will be held, but it will likely be sometime in June. I am hopeful that legislative leaders will be able to resolve their differences with the Governor and that we will have a bipartisan compromise quickly.
On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the afternoon Pre-K class at Westview Elementary in Apple Valley along with Governor Dayton, Commissioner Cassellius, other education officials and legislators. It is so amazing to see how much these early learners have already accomplished and how quick they are to adjust to something new. Governor Dayton did a great job of interacting with the students, and that was sometimes a challenge because there were three new little chicks in the room that got a lot of attention.
After watching the children in class, the adults went to another to discuss the program. Superintendent Berenz talked about the way School District #196 is trying to ensure that children will be prepared for kindergarten. One of the teachers mentioned how much progress some of the children had made since the beginning of the year. A kindergarten teacher said that the children who had been in the program previously come into kindergarten with more confidence and learning skills. A mother commented that even though she thought she had prepared her child with basic knowledge, she noticed the improvement in social skills and leadership ability. The principal said the students and their families become a community. The visit allowed us to see some of the remarkable experiences children have in our public schools. Shouldn't all children who would benefit from this training be eligible?
As always, please contact me anytime with your questions, comments and concerns. I can be reached by phone 651-296-3533 at or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I look forward to hearing from you!