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

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News from Representative Erickson 01-15-2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dear Neighbor,

It was a busy first week at the Capitol last week, and I was honored once again to take the oath of office and begin what promises to be a spirited session at the Capitol. I look forward to working with my new colleagues in the new majority and finding bipartisan solutions to help address the challenges our state faces.

I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for the Lake Mille Lacs area - a strong recreational and economical resource. Thus, Lake Mille Lacs is a critically important to our district, region and state, so during the first week of session, I introduced three separate bills aimed at addressing issues affecting Lake Mille Lacs.

HF12 would provide funding from a potential bonding bill to replace the Malone Island Bridge, the only bridge to cross over Lake Mille Lacs. The bridge is structurally deficient and badly in need of total replacement. My other option is to request legacy funds.

HF33 would increase transparency by requiring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commissioner to report annually on the costs associated with the management of fisheries in the Lake Mille Lacs and the ceded tribal territory based on the 1837 treaty. I believe it's important that Minnesotans are aware of the exact costs year - which number in the millions - as well as the services. We also need to know what kind of funding is provided to the Ojibwe tribes as a part of the 1837 treaty.

HF42 requires meetings involving the DNR, Ojibwe bands and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission involving the 1837 treaty rights to be subject to open meeting requirements outlined under state law. It would allow members of the Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group only to attend the meetings and perhaps local press. HF42 would also require an annual report on aquatic invasive species containment efforts under state law to help ensure existing enforcement mechanisms and whether or not state laws are being followed to achieve containment of these harmful invasive species.

In other areas of interest, I also introduced HF32, a flat tax proposal, and HF38, which requires the state to comply with compacts for tribal gambling.

As a member of the Education Policy and Education Finance Committee, I will be working on a number of education proposals this session. I introduced HF34, which modifies teacher licensure requirements, and I was proud to sign on to a bill chief authored by Rep. Kelby Woodard that would make it more difficult for future legislatures to pass a school shift, as we have done during the previous two bienniums.

I welcome your input and suggestions, and encourage you to contact me at any time regarding issues at the Capitol. I can be reached by email at, by phone at 651-296-6746, or by mail at 209 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155. I also have a new official legislative Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here.


Sondra Erickson
State Representative, District 15A

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