Friday, December 14, 2007

Week of December 9, 2007

Schedule: On Monday, December 10th, I attended a meeting at the MN Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) where a representative of the Michigan Environmental Council presented on a proposed on-line tool for "water withdrawal" permitting. One concern here in MN and elsewhere is that some large-scale users of groundwater (e.g., bottled water plant, ethanol plant) might use too much water so that other residential and agricultural users cannot get enough water. In Michigan, they are proposing that a potential large-scale water user can go on-line and find out whether there is enough water in a particular area. We don't have our groundwater all mapped out in MN so we can't do this yet.

On Wednesday, December 12th, I attended a meeting of the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) so I could hear a presentation about a proposed paint product stewardship project. Counties spend a lot of our money to help safely recycle or dispose of our old paint. The state and the metro counties are working with paint manufacturers to see if they can create a system where paint manufacturers can help pick up part of the tab through a consumer fee or incorporating the cost of waste management in the price of the new product. Later in the day I attended a meeting of the House Suburban DFL Caucus and then a DFL House Caucus fundraiser in St. Paul. On Thursday, December 13th, I attended a half-day program by ISAIAH called "Conversation on Health." It was an effort to get supporters of change in the health care system together. On Friday, December 14th, I attended a meeting of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts with about two dozen legislators. The AMSD presented on expected deficits for metro school districts and several superintendents debriefed recent unsuccessful attempts to pass local school levies. Senator Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher also spoke. Finally, I sat in on a meeting of the East Metro PFC Oversight Working Group, which is monitoring Department of Health efforts to address contamination from 3M chemicals in drinking water.

Visitors: Lino Lakes resident about environment and economic development issues; House researcher on solid waste legislation; committee chair about drinking water issues; House researchers about a health care issue

Constituent contacts: Lino Lakes resident about Lino prison; Golden Lake Elementary parent about education; Lino Lakes resident about heart-healthy initiatives; Lino Lakes resident supporting constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; Lexington resident wanting tougher penalties for deer-baiting; Circle Pines resident, three Lino Lakes residents, and four Shoreview residents supporting "Free Markets Health Care Petition" that opposes new health care mandates (Minnesota Majority, the organization that organized the health care petition, has five issues that it works on: health care; illegal immigration; gay marriage; sex education; and stem cell research)