Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weeks of April 1-14, 2007

I wanted to take a moment to mention one of the more difficult things that we do in the House. On Tuesday, April 10, we had two moments of silence for two fallen Minnesota servicemen, including Army Spc. Conor G. Masterson, a native of Woodbury and Inver Grove Heights who died in Afghanistan, and Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Olsen of Eagan who died last week in Iraq. Representatives of their hometowns gave short statements about these young men, including Rep. Wardlow, who had Olsen as a student when he was a teacher.

On Monday, April 2, I attended a meeting of the House Finance Committee, hoping to see the passage of the electronic waste recycling bill, but the committee adjourned for the break before that could happen. Then I attended a short floor session. The House was on an Easter/Passover break from April 3 to April 9th. But on Wednesday, April 4th I attended a meeting of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce where the group discussed various transportation funding proposals and I did some work at my office. On Thursday, April 5th, I met with the kindergarten classes from Island Lake Elementary in Shoreview. (My son was in this group.)

This week we came back on Tuesday, April 10th to meet for a short floor session. I filmed a short cable TV interview after the session. The freshmen DFL legislators met with House leadership in the afternoon. In the evening (as in 9:00 p.m.) I attended the House Finance Committee as it took action on the Omnibus Public Safety Finance bill. I was there to be available for questions should the provisions containing my scrap metal regulation bill come under discussion. However, there were no amendments or questions on the topic and I got home at 10:40 p.m.

On Wednesday, April 11th, I attended a short floor session; an informal meeting of some freshmen DFLers; and the full DFL House Caucus. In the evening, I came back to the House Tax Committee, where the public safety omnibus bill was heard. One amendment was introduced to remove one provision of my scrap metal proposal and it failed 10-14. Another amendment was going to be introduced and I worked out some compromise language with the author in order to make it an acceptable amendment, and it was approved on a voice vote. The meeting went long and it finished at about 11:15 p.m.

On Thursday, April 12th, I attended a breakfast meeting of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce in Mounds View. The Governor spoke to the group and discussed transportation, education, and the budget. Afterward I sat in on the House Finance Committee to listen to the debate on the e-waste bill. In the afternoon I attended the House DFL Caucus and a short floor session. Finally, I visited an open house for a new Edward Jones brokerage in North Oaks.

On Friday, April 13th, I attended the House Ways & Means Committee where it passed the public safety omnibus bills. No amendments or questions came up on the scrap metal regulation issues. The next stop is the floor! I also met with staff at Asset Recovery Corp., a St. Paul electronics recycler, about the impacts of a proposed electronic waste bill. In the afternoon I attended a short floor session and a meeting of the House Tax Committee in case they brought up the e-waste bill.

On Saturday, April 14th, my family and I went down to the Capitol to visit the Global Warming Action Day. (In our new hybrid car!) I was hoping for some consumer-friendly info on how to reduce my carbon emissions and some kids' activities, but it was kind of an advocacy exhibit thing. The anti-tax folks had a rally at the same time on the steps of the Capitol so there was some mixing of the two groups--fortunately it was peaceful!

Visitors: Director of Anoka County Parks; Shoreview resident with expertise on treatment of sex offenders; Circle Pines resident about property tax relief, LGA, and parks funding; a Shoreview resident who received a award ("Stars of Life") for his work as an emergency medical professional; a Shoreview resident about mercury and vaccines; six teachers from Centennial School District on education issues; two Lino Lakes residents and education advocates about education funding; Circle Pines and Lino Lakes residents about research and treatment of Parkinson's Disease; Shoreview resident and representative of the ISAIAH group about progressive legislation; staff member from MN Environmental Partnership about dedicated funding for clean water and the outdoors; a Circle Pines chiropractor with some of her colleagues about legislation affecting their industry; staff from TakeAction Minnesota about the recent minimum wage proposal

Constituent contacts: I've received so much of this during the last two weeks it will take a few days to get this in here.