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

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Legislative Update (3-6-15)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

Thanks to those of you who stopped by my office this week to visit with me about issues that are important to you and to our state. Visiting this week was Kurt Beckstrom from Mille Lacs and State Soil and Water Conservation District, Rebecca Kent from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Kevin Koppendrayer visited to discuss Co-ops. There were also individuals who stopped by to discuss library funding. It is important to speak with you and learn about your thoughts and concerns. I strongly encourage you visit if you have not had the chance to do so.

Empowering Schools and Improving Student Learning

On Thursday, the House passed House File 2, an education reform bill and one of the top priorities for the House Republican Majority this session. This bill looks to ensure that every child in Minnesota is afforded the opportunity to receive a top-notch education from the best teachers in the nation.

Studies have shown that next to parental involvement, teacher effectiveness is the most important factor to a child’ s academic growth and success. In order to ensure that our students and schools continue to be among the best in the nation, we need to make sure that we are doing all we can to attract and retain the best teachers. House File 2 addresses these goals in the following ways:

  • Increases quality of teaching by focusing on merit in teacher retention policies, and limiting placement of students with ineffective teaching.
  • Strengthens standards on new teacher licensure to ensure a firm foundation of academic skills.
  • Increases access to quality teachers through out-of-state teacher license recognition, encouraging regional licensure reciprocity, streamlining alternative pathways to teaching, and reinstating other licensure options.
  • Empowers school districts to tap community experts to fill unmet needs to maintain or expand academic opportunities for students in courses such as carpentry or agriculture.

We have great teachers in Minnesota and effective teaching is crucial to maintaining the quality of our Minnesota schools. I know we all share the goal of continually improving so that every Minnesota child receives a top-notch education in our public schools. I believe this legislation helps achieve that goal.

February Budget Forecast

Last Friday, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB) released a report detailing the state’s budget forecast. MMB revealed that the state can expect a nearly $1.9 billion dollar surplus over the next biennium.

While it is good that Minnesota’s economy is doing better, we must remember that the state’s surplus is a result of hard working Minnesotans and not the government.

The fact that the state’s surplus is nearly $1.9 billion dollars proves that Minnesotans are over taxed.

Given the state’s surplus has grown to nearly $1.9 billion dollars, you may be surprised to learn Governor Dayton stuck by his proposal to raise the price of gas on Minnesotans. With a surplus that large, any discussion on raising revenue or imposing a new gas tax should be over.

Now it's time for legislators to get to work crafting our budget for the next two years. We will be looking at ways to invest in priorities like roads and bridges, long-term care and nursing homes, as well as ways to give families some of their hard-earned tax dollars back to them in the form of tax relief.

Upcoming Events

I will participate in the Princeton Business and Community Expo Saturday, March 7th from 9 am until 2 pm at the Princeton Middle School located at 1100 4th Ave. North in Princeton.

The Expo is a great place to get to know local business owners, service organizations, and community groups. I encourage you to attend.


Another reminder that Sen. Dave Brown and I will host town hall meetings next Saturday, March 14th. The schedule for the day is:

  • 7:30 am in Princeton at K-Bob Café
  • 9:00 am in Milaca at Daddio’ s Drive-In
  • 11:30 am in Wahkon at Mugg’ s
  • 1:30 pm Onamia at the Vet’ s Club

Staying Connected

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 don't 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 or 651-296-6746.


Have a great weekend,