Senator Dan Sparks: Thank You for Participating in Our Democracy

The Legislature is fast approaching a May 21 constitutional deadline to complete its work for the year. Lawmakers began meeting on February 20 with the shared goal of addressing big challenges, such as school safety, elder abuse, opioid addiction, and $3 billion in capital investment requests submitted by local governments, to name just a few.

Hundreds of bills that got introduced earlier this year received public hearings and robust discussion in committee hearings and debates on the floor of the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. Ordinary citizens and leaders from professional associations, municipal governments, advocacy organizations and others provided thoughtful public testimony and contributed to a respectful conversation about how we will collectively address the challenges facing our state.

Lawmakers have now narrowed down hundreds of ideas and proposals to the ones that are the best policy to help Minnesota and may become law. With just one week left to complete a large amount of work, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this year’s legislative session. My goal is for the Legislature to conduct the people’s work in a manner that is transparent and welcoming of public participation. The best place to find information and get updates over the next week is www.leg.state.mn.us. I look forward to providing you with a final recap of what did and did not get accomplished in my next column.

During these past few months, many of you took time away from your families and personal and professional commitments to visit the Capitol and participate in our Democracy. Many more mailed letters, made phone calls, and wrote emails. To each and every person who contacted and visited me this year, I can’t thank you enough for being an active citizen and contributing to a respectful public discourse.

I especially want to recognize my fellow Minnesotans from Albert Lea and the surrounding area who visited me at the Capitol, including:

Save Our Hospital, Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr., City Manager Chad Adams, Councilor Larry Baker, Economic Development Executive Director Ryan Nolander, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Minnesota Corn Growers, Firefighters, Teachers, Minnesota Building Trades Association, AFSCME, ABATE, Realtors, Freeborn County Soil and Water Conservation District board members, and Riverland Community College President Dr. Adenuga Atewologun, staff and students.

If you have questions or comments during this final week of the legislative session, I would love to hear from you. Give me a call at (651) 296-9248; mail me a letter at 95 University Avenue W., Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2201, St. Paul, MN 55155; or send me an email at sen.dan.sparks@senate.mn.

This column was first published in the Albert Lea Tribune

Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks represents District 27, which includes all or portions of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in the southeastern part of the state.

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