It was a shortened week here at the legislature as the House was closed on Monday in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. While it was a condensed week, important committee hearings and events still took place at the Capitol, so let me update you.
2015 March for Life
Thank you to those who came to the Capitol Thursday to participate in this year’s March for Life. It is inspiring to see citizens from all over the state congregate on the Capitol steps to peacefully demonstrate against our nation’s abortion laws. Also, thank you to those who joined me and other legislators in the State Office Building for a reception after the event. It was great to see so many familiar faces.
Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection Recommendations
The Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection unveiled its initial recommendations in reforming Minnesota’s child protection systems and guidelines. House File 191 would repeal the statutory provision barring consideration of screened-out reports to help guide decisions. This will allow case workers and law enforcement to review screened out reports of abuse, even those that were unfounded, in an effort to give officials the ability to identify if a pattern of abuse is occurring. The bills will also seek to ensure that the safety of the child is codified in state statute as the primary concern when handling cases of reported child abuse. Additionally, the bill would require the commissioner of Human Services to develop and implement policies that will foster increased communication between counties and law enforcement. Finally, the bill clarifies that child protection reports shall be placed under the same guidelines as welfare, court services, and school records under state law, and would require that records be kept for five years, compared to the one year required under current law.
I am happy to see these proposals brought forward by the Governor’s task force. I have long been a supporter of enhancing our state’s child protection systems. Last summer, I called for a repeal of legislation that allowed official reports of child abuse to be screened out after only a year or if they were dismissed as not substantial. It is counterintuitive that county officials and law enforcement are unable to review child abuse reports if they are more than a year old as it does not allow them to see if a pattern of abuse is forming. It is good to see that this specific provision, and others, are included in the task force’s recommendations.
Update on Local Issues
I have been in contact with local and state agency officials in regards to the septic issues that are occurring in Baldwin Township. Local authorities and the Pollution Control Agency are working together to see that this issue is resolved in a responsible manner that will satisfy all parties involved. Please stay in touch as my office may have updates in the coming weeks.
Additionally, I have been receiving calls and emails concerning the level three sex offender who has moved to Onamia. Local law enforcement and I have been in contact on what local residents need to be made aware of in regard to this issue. Again, please stay in touch as we may have more information to pass along in the near future.
Upcoming Town hall Meetings
Senator Dave Brown and I will hold a series of town hall meetings on Saturday, March 14. It is always rewarding to meet with constituents as they share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas on how we can make our state better. I especially encourage you to attend if you are concerned about rising property taxes. I will be inviting the chairman of the Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, to attend the town halls to take public input on this important issue. Below is the schedule for March 14th’s town halls:
Keeping in Touch
Please visit and “like” my Facebook page for updates on all the important legislation and events that are taking place at the Capitol.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about issues that are important to you. My door is always open. If you would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact my office at email@example.com or 651-296-6746.
Have a wonderful weekend,