Every July 4, citizens all across Minnesota and the country celebrate our Independence Day. It’s a day well-known for picnics and fireworks displays; but it’s also the day our ancestors stood up for liberty and asserted ourselves as a free nation. As you celebrate our nation’s birthday, remember the words of the Declaration of Independence:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain
"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." — President Dwight Eisenhower
The State Senate is scrambling to try to help school districts after yet more problems for schools trying to give students the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment.
The statewide student testing system used to administer the MCA’s test has failed repeatedly throughout this spring’s testing season. First there were technological problems administering the test, then testing was halted for a suspected hacking attempt.
With under one month remaining in the 2015 Legislative Session, the work at the Capitol is focused on responsibly balancing the state’s budget. This task is made easier by the $1.86 billion surplus resulting from increased economic activity in Minnesota.
Minnesota continues to be a national leader in economic recovery following the recent recession. Thanks to responsible budgeting, we now have the opportunity to make wise investments that will put more jobs, money and opportunities in the hands of Minnesotans to continue this robust come-back.
With only a week of session left, many of us are asking where the last few months went. This week the E-12 Division met in conference committee several times to lay out the differences between our two bills. On Thursday the Senate also took up the Legacy Bill – which takes three-eighths of one percent of the state sales tax and uses the money to invest in clean water, outdoor heritage, arts and cultural heritage and parks and trails. The bill totals $537 million over the FY16-17 biennium and invests in hundreds of important projects that will protect and enhance important places all across the state.
The Senate recently passed provisions investing in our state’s economic development programs, workforce programs and our natural resources. The bill supports existing programs that help people find jobs, and funds new ideas that help move Minnesota forward.
Here are some highlights:
April 22 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day in the United States. The annual event was designed to be a day where we take a step back to look at how our actions affect the earth, and recognize the things we can change to make our planet a better place to live. For many, the day means much more than simply remembering to recycle for a day.
This session many committees, including the Senate E-12 Budget Division, which I chair, have heard a great deal of testimony about the growing importance of vocational and technical education. We’ve also heard about the need for high schools to continue to offer or expand their technical educational offerings. There are thousands of good-paying jobs in technical fields in many communities across the state. There are several bills working their way through committees that address the need for more skilled workers to fill these jobs.