Monday, June 4, 2007

Weeks of May 27 & June 3, 2007

After putting a lot of other things on hold until after the session ended on May 21, I found myself overwhelmed with family and other stuff for the last two weeks.

Here are some of my activities during this two-week period. On Friday, June 1, I met with a researcher at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the U of M for an interview/survey on the legislature session. In the afternoon, I met with staff at the MN Geological Survey about ground water issues. This is one of my objectives for the break--to build some expertise on what we know and don't know about our ground water resources. This became something of interest because of the leaking Highway 96 landfill in North Oaks.

On Monday, June 4th, I met with Met Council staff about suburban transit issues, including bus service in Shoreview. I also met with staff from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) about follow-up to my metal theft legislation. The BCA has a theft alert system that my bill requires scrap metal dealers to sign up for, and I want to make sure that the dealers know how the BCA's system works during the next few months. It's one thing to pass a law, but it's another to make it work, so I am committed to working with the dealers, law enforcement, utilities, contractors, and others who have been victims of aluminum and copper theft. In the afternoon, I attended a meeting of the "Waste Streams Policy Committee" of the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) at the MN Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA and the SWMCB are working on ways to recycle more construction and demolition debris instead of landfilling, and I wanted to get up to speed.

On Tuesday, June 5th, I attended a celebration of the passage of the electronic waste recycling bill at the Association of MN Counties and a picnic for DFL Senate District 53.

On Wednesday, June 6th, I met with a representative of the MN Historical Society about site visits by legislators before the next session. This was in my capacity as Vice-Chair of the Heritage Finance Committee. I don't usually list a lot of family stuff here but I thought I would mention that in the evening, six year old Ben pulled off an unorthodox version of the hidden ball trick while playing catcher up in Lexington. In "coach's-pitch" league, the coach pitches about four or five balls to the hitter before the catcher or umpire returns the balls in order to speed up the game. (The kids swing and miss a lot.) With a runner on third, a hitter hit a grounder to short but there was no throw. Ben stands on the plate, tags the runner from third, and pulls out one of the balls from a previous pitch and yells, "You're out!" I told him later that it didn't count :)

On Thursday, June 7th, Senator Rummel and I met with the Lexington City Council to discuss the results of the legislative session.

On Friday, June 8th, I attended the quarterly Shoreview Business Exchange at the Community Center.

On Saturday, June 9th, my supporters and I marched in the North Oaks Community Fair parade, but not before my wife called to say that I had left home with my son's baseball glove and bat in my trunk and he had a game!

Smoking ban article: The Shoreview Press published a story this week about the effects of the statewide smoking ban. Several bar owners are quoted as being opposed to the ban. I thought readers would be interested to hear that I was never contacted by any business in the district about the ban during the legislative session. According to my records, 32 constituents contacted me in favor of a smoking ban and eight contacted me against the ban or parts of it.

Constituent contacts: Blaine resident about Sen. Metzen's DWI; North Oaks resident supporting special session to re-pass tax bill; Lino Lakes resident pleased with environmental votes; North Oaks resident pleased with environmental votes; Circle Pines resident pleased with environmental votes; Shoreview resident pleased with environmental votes; Lino Lakes resident pleased with environmental votes; Shoreview resident asking about incorporating inflation into budget projections; Lino Lakes resident asking about K-12 education funding formula; Shoreview resident happy about salary supplement for state employees; Shoreview resident concerned about data privacy of Record Locator Service included in health and human services bill; Shoreview resident asking whether House tried to override veto on property tax relief bill; North Oaks resident pleased about smoking ban vote; North Oaks resident supporting higher weight limits for trucks; Shoreview resident supporting legislation for developmentally disabled adults; two Shoreview residents supporting restored bus service in Shoreview; Lino Lakes resident pleased with salary supplement for state employees; Lexington resident seeking help on a special education matter; Shoreview resident against increased truck weight limits and asking if I received contributions from the trucking industry (see link to my campaign finance report to see that the answer is no); Lino Lakes resident about a proposed Vikings stadium in Minneapolis; Circle Pines resident pleased with salary supplement for state employees; Lino Lakes resident pleased with salary supplement for state employees; Shoreview resident against taxes generally; Shoreview resident pleased with vote on dedicated funding for the outdoors; Circle Pines resident pleased with education funding vote; Lino Lakes resident upset about rising rents in low-income senior rental complex; several North Oaks residents about Highway 96 landfill and potential effects on private wells by new high capacity drinking water wells for St. Paul; Lino Lakes pleased with vote on dedicated outdoor funding for the outdoors; Lino Lakes resident asking about K-12 education funding formula