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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friends and neighbors,

As chair of the House Education Innovation Policy Committee, I am regularly considering new ways to empower teachers and improve our youth’s educational experience. While our education system does an outstanding job of focusing on traditional subjects like mathematics, English, science, and social studies, I am always encouraging teachers to explore ways they can supplement traditional subjects with lessons designed to instill important values in our young people—values that go beyond the classroom.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation has designed a character development program that provides students with the opportunity to explore the important concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship by learning about the lives and actions of or Medal of Honor recipients.

I think we can all agree that traditional curriculum coupled with lessons that teach students the value of their own self-worth, sacrifice, integrity, and commitment would be of tremendous value—especially in today’s society. If you’d like to learn more about these resources offered through the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, please visit their website at or watch this video.

Budget Forecast

Earlier this week, the state’s Management and Budget Office (MMB) released its annual November budget forecast. Released twice a year in February and early December, this forecast gives lawmakers a view into the economic wellbeing of the state and is an important factor when considering legislation for the upcoming session.

The forecast shows a projected $188 million deficit next year due to lower-than-expected projected revenues based on assumptions about federal tax reform and U.S. GDP and wage growth. The forecast also reflected $178 million in state spending on the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), nearly all of which would be backfilled once CHIP is renewed at the federal level. Despite the uncertain forecast, I am encouraged by what the forecast has to say about the state’s job market.

Unemployment continues to be at its lowest level in 17 years, and wages are growing. Our national economy is growing as well, and I expect a much stronger revenue report as we look ahead to the February forecast.

The forecast also assumes that no tax bill will be passed at the federal level despite passage in both the House and Senate last week, and assumed 2.2% GDP growth in 2017 despite 3.1% growth in the second quarter and 3.3% growth in the third quarter of this year.

I remain optimistic about our long-term economic growth and expect improved numbers in February.

Lake Mille Lacs Winter Angling

The Mille Lacs winter walleye season opened this past Friday, December 1st with no bait restrictions and a limit of one walleye 20-22 inches or one longer than 28 inches. While the restriction to one walleye is somewhat disappointing, it is certainly a better outcome compared to the complete lake closure we saw last summer.

Complete winter regulation information for Mille Lacs is available on the DNR website at

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. You can schedule a time to meet with me in my office any time by calling me at 651-296-6746, or share your thoughts by emailing me at