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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update (4-15-16)

Friday, April 15, 2016


Milaca city manager, Greg Lerud and Tim Trubenbach, superintendent of the Milaca School District, testified this week before the Capital Investment Committee regarding an infrastructure request. Thank you for taking the time to testify.

Dear Neighbors,

The supplemental education bill received its final committee hearing on Thursday with finance and policy changes to the state’s education system. With a budget target of zero, the bill appropriates funds by reshuffling current spending to better align with funding priorities in the House.

Key elements in the funding portion of the bill include:

  • $7.7 million to end a fundamental disparity in revenue between metro and non-metro school districts
  • $6 million to support early childhood learning and literacy
  • $14.6 million to increase the number of new and diverse teachers and to provide continuing education for current teachers

A notable omission from our supplemental bill is the Governor’s Pre-K initiative which continues to bring more questions than answers to the table in regards to cost and effectiveness.

The other component of the bill contains policy provisions that look to strengthen Minnesota’s schools. As chair of the Education Innovation Policy Committee, I am proud of the common sense and innovative policy proposals in this legislation.

Key policy provisions include:

  • The creation of a 12 member study group of legislators to look into the Legislative Auditor’s report on the Board of Teaching
  • Requiring the Department of Education to develop a security plan to ensure the safety of student’s private data
  • Improvements to Innovation Zones to allow for the flexibility of new ideas to be implemented in schools and classrooms
  • Increasing local control of revenue to meet local needs and priorities

Fireworks Bill Approved by the House

On Monday, the House passed legislation that would legalize the sale of aerial and audible fireworks like firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles.

Fireworks are not a new issue at the capitol as a number of bills have been passed in recent years—only to be vetoed by the governor. This year’s bill differs from previous years in a few distinct ways.

First, the bill allows the sale of fireworks only from June 1st through July 10th.

Second, the bill allows local municipalities to charge an annual license fee to stores selling fireworks and gives them the autonomy to bar their sale if they so choose.

According to some studies, Minnesota loses as much as $5 million in sales tax revenue every year when folks travel to neighboring states to purchase fireworks, this bill would help recover some of those costs.

At the end of the day, individuals are going to use fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July regardless if they are sold or legal in Minnesota.

Staying in Touch

I was visited by local members of the Farm Bureau last week. Thanks for visiting!

That’s all for this week’s update. Please be sure to contact my office via email at or by phone at 651-296-6746 if you have any questions or comments related to state government. It would be great to speak with you.

Have a great weekend,


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