On the evening of July 10th, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency held a meeting at the Burnsville City Hall to obtain information for the Scoping Document for the Burnsville Landfill Expansion Request. MPCA staff and Burnsville Landfill representatives provided background on the request and the process that will be followed to respond . The MPCA had released the Draft Scoping Document on June 24 for the Burnsville Sanitary Landfill Expansion Project 2019. Verbal concerns were taken the night of the meeting. Questions included concerns about the final height of the landfill, impact on wildlife, and safety concerns.
Additional comments or concerns need to be submitted in writing. July 24 is the last day to submit comments on the draft Scoping Document.
The Legislative Process Reform Subcommittee held its first meeting on the afternoon of July 10th. the The focus was on the budget process. Testimony was heard from the staff of the Fiscal Analysis Department and House Research who are the main resources in that area.
One comment was that it might be easier to work on budget bills if the information from the November forecast was used rather than waiting for the February forecast. Someone said that model had been used in the past.
Future meetings will be taking place in sites throughout the state.
Senator Jim Carlson and I held a Town Hall Meeting on the evening of July 8 at the Wescott Library in Eagan. Our appreciation to all who attended and participated in this event.
Ruth Grengs was our guest speaker and was kind enough to provide us some background on the activities on the Mexican border. She has lived in our community for many years. I knew she was an immigration attorney and I also knew she had been to our southern border recently. While immigration is a federal issue, the current controversy is a concern for many in our community and our state. Given the time constraints, it was suggested to have a discussion just on this topic.
The main focus was the 2019 Session. Highlights include passing a budget, preserving the provider tax to retain health care access for over a million Minnesotans, the Elder Abuse Protection Legislation, and the Hands-free Bill. Disappointments include not passing many of the insulin bills or a comprehensive transportation bill.
One of the comments was on state shut-downs. The gentleman said they are very harmful to state employees. He believes that when the governor and legislators fail to agree on a budget and shut down state services, they should not receive compensation during that period. Another constituent asked whether it was still possible to have a democracy given the partisanship that seems to make compromises almost impossible.
Members of the Legislative POCI Caucus (People of Color and Indigenous) held a hearing this morning regarding the humanitarian crisis at America’s southern border. In addition to the testimony, advocates provided resources to contact.We also need to consider the impact of this activity on people living in Minnesota. There was an audio recording of the meeting that will be available.
It seems impossible that this atrocious treatment of children is taking place in our country. Are these really the criminals and dangerous people that the President keeps telling us are trying to cross the border? I find that hard to believe. The poor leadership at the federal level is a threat to so many. It certainly is not doing the image of America any good either. This should concern us all.
Last night, I attended the Awards Ceremony for the 4th District Apprentice Contest held at Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455. The categories were HVAC, Pipefitter, Plumber, Sprinklerfitter, and Welder. The winner in each of the categories will go on to a national competition that will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in August. There are eleven states that come under the 4th District.
The Robert Donatelle Award went to Carter Hagen. This award was established in 2010 to honor a member who placed great emphasis on training.
The presenters said this group represents the future. While it took years for many of the current officials to reach their leadership positions, the dynamics of our society today will mean the younger members will be advancing at a much faster pace than did their predecessors.
I attended the Burnsville Alternative High School Class of 2019 graduation on June 5th at the Mraz Center. This is one of my favorite events. These students have overcome substantial personal and family issues to be able to graduate. And the size of the class usually allows some of these stories to be told. The graduates that did share their experiences all gave thanks to the school staff for the the help they received that made this event possible. A 2017 BAHA graduate was a guest speaker and she talked about the importance of persistence and the help she received.
This event was held on Tuesday May 28 at the South Metro Islamic Center in Rosemount. The evening began with a variety of introductions, including comments from the Imam and the President of the Minnesota Council of Churches. The Imam said that people should be loved and things are to be used. It seems now that things are loved and people are used. “Islam perceives itself as a system of values. It is a system of values, it is about balance.”
A group of young adults from the center gave some background on themselves and their religion. They then did a comparison of quotes and the audience had to guess whether the quote was from the Bible or the Koran.
We then heard the Call to Prayer and the words on the front screen provided the English translation so that all could follow. Then those that chose to pray went in to the prayer room. Afterwards, all the attendees participated in a delicious meal in the main meeting room.
While we are still waiting for the leadership to finalize targets for the budget, we are still meeting in session to vote on bills and some conference committees are meeting to get work done.
On Friday, the Transsportation Conference Committee met and one of the topics was drones. At one point, Representative Brad Tapke (DFL) made a comment to the presiding Chair Scott Newman (R) expressing his frustration over the discussion of the past half-hour. Representative Tabke said that if the Senate Committee had heard the Governor’s Bill, the Conference Committee would be able to make more progress.
I totally agree with that opinion. While I was excited to get some of my bills passed in the House, it is virtually impossible to have a successful ending when the senate companion bills were never heard. The Senate Republicans are obviously not acknowledging the problems that many Minnesotans see and want solved.
I started the day with the National Day of Reason event in the Capitol. Some of the items supported by this group include: separation of state and religion, reason and evidenced-based policy, pluralism and equity in the democratic process, and secular government as designed by our Constitution.
Professor David Schultz of Hamline University addressed the group and talked about lawmakers that make decisions based on belief rather than evidence. My take is that this type of behavior creates problems and tends to be divisive.