Week Eighteen: May 12, 2017

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  • Last Friday, a group of Senate DFL legislators accepted an offer from a local St. Paul school principal to take a tour of his school, and learn how the current education budget bill proposal will lead to severe cuts to services at his school, Maxfield Elementary.

    Principal Ryan Vernosh shared stories about the challenges his students face, including the fact that some 30% of the students who attend Maxfield have experienced homelessness this year. The St. Paul Promise Neighborhood School has made leaps and bounds over the past few years, but Vernosh explained to legislators that budget cuts are forthcoming if the current Republican education proposal is passed into law.

    Click here to learn more about the Maxfield School visit.


    Republicans run roughshod over legislative process; progress grinds to a halt

    After a Monday night maneuver in which Republicans stopped negotiating with the Governor and closed up most of their budget bill conference committees, DFLers and Governor Dayton are calling out Republicans for doing the people’s work at the legislature in the dead of night, with no notice and no accountability. This runs contrary to promises of transparency made by both leaders of the Republican House and Senate.

    Four months ago, Republican leaders promised accountability and that legislative work would take place in committees – in the light of day. Earlier this week Republicans seemed to forget those promises, and abandoned all attempts at compromising with the Governor.

    With no public notice, Republicans signed finalized conference committee bills. Most of these conference committees have not taken public testimony, and provided dark-of-night notice of the early morning hearings that took place on Tuesday this week.

    DFLers argue this isn’t the way Minnesotans expect their government to run, nor is it what democracy looks like. For Minnesotans, this late-night mischief means they have no say in the $1.5 billion Republicans are rolling out the door.

    Tuesday night Senate Republicans passed the environment and natural resources finance, education finance, state government, and health and human services bills. DFLers were vocal in their disdain for not only the process, but the inadequate level of funding in the bills as well as the bad policies that many argue will hurt Minnesotans.

    Governor Dayton has promised to veto all of these bills that were buttoned up in the middle of the night, which will make for a busy final week of session.

    Complicating legislative matters even further is the fact that one member of the Senate Republican majority has been missing the last two days, attending to their dying father’s bedside. Leading the Senate with a one-seat majority is proving difficult for Republicans, because it means they can’t pass any major budget bills until their member returns.

    The Senate still needs to pass its taxes, transportation, higher education, and judiciary budget bills. In their current forms, the Governor has promised vetoes of all of them.

    This weekend the Governor is spending time with both Republican leaders for the state’s fishing opener weekend.

    Session will end on May 22.

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    Governor Dayton vetoes two abortion bills

    Gov. Dayton vetoed two bills this week aimed at limiting access to abortions in Minnesota.

    Met Council restructuring bill passes the Senate

    A bill seeking to restructure the Metropolitan Council was passed off the Senate floor Monday evening, with a 34-32 party-line vote.

    Architectural barriers and frivolous lawsuits

    The Minnesota Senate passed a bill aimed at stopping frivolous lawsuits filed against business owners for Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

    Early learning teachers and DFL Legislators: Minnesota values early childhood education, but the Republican budget cuts Pre-K

    Early learning teachers from around Minnesota this week discussed the value of pre-K and the problems posed to their districts by the proposed Republican education plan.

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    100-mile trek for higher education

    Minnesota House and Senate DFL legislators stood in unity with Minnesota State University students on their 100-mile walk from Minnesota State Mankato to the Capitol to raise awareness of the need for affordable higher education.

    Twitter town hall for higher education

    This week, DFL legislators held a Twitter town hall focused on affordable higher education.

    DFL women meet with Gov. Dayton to talk about issues important to women

    More than 30 DFL women legislators met with Governor Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to talk about three important women’s issues in the closing days of the legislative session: protecting minimum wage and paid family leave by vetoing the preemption bill, keeping the Office of the Economic Status of Women funded, and protecting our clean and fair elections by opposing the elimination of the public finance program.