Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week of January 4, 2009

New committee assignment: On Friday, the Speaker's office added me to the Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Division of the Commerce and Labor Committee. It meets on Friday mornings. Last session, the committee discussed plans for greater broadband access statewide.

Stimulus: This week, we've been hearing about what projects in Minnesota might be funded by a possible economic stimulus bill under consideration in Congress. One of the projects is the widening of 694 between 35W and 35E. More info as I get it.

Phone books: KARE-11 did a news story about my past efforts to empower consumers to "opt out" of getting multiple phone books. I did not think that this was anything newsworthy but I have been bombarded with e-mail from people around the state who support this.

Yellow Book: Yellow Book, one of those yellow pages directory publishers, now allows you to opt out by going to their web site. You can also opt out from Dex directories (or request additional ones) at the Dex web site.

Schedule: On Tuesday, I attended a DFL House Caucus meeting and then we had our first floor session where we were all sworn in to the legislature. The first day is a little dull; the swearing-in takes about thirty seconds. We had about five voice roll call votes, where the clerk goes down the list of members and asks for each member's vote on the choice for Speaker, Chief Clerk, other officers in the House, etc. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get through the whole list each time! Guests can attend so my mom sat on the floor with me and my stepdad and wife sat up in the gallery. My mom was visiting from Annapolis, MD. On Wednesday and Thursday, DFL members of the Health and Human Services Policy Committee met to discuss session priorities for the committee. In the evening, I attended the Session Priorities Dinner convened by the MN Chamber of Commerce at RiverCenter. The Governor was the keynote speaker and legislative leaders participated in a panel discussion afterwards. On Thursday, I attended the DFL House Caucus. On Friday, several other suburban legislators and I attended a briefing from the Municipal Legislative Commission about their legislative platform. Shoreview is a member of this group. Later in the day I spoke to about 40 members of the MN Council of Nonnprofits about the legislative process.

Visitors: Shoreview resident supporting Health Security Act; Senior Fellow at Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs about green chemistry; MnDOT staff and Senator about increasing efficiency of community based transit; Senator about legislation to promote composting; House researchers about energy and environment issues; representatives of the MN Manufactured Housing Association about mobile home legislation from 2007.

Constituent contacts: Circle Pines resident supporting Health Security Act; Shoreview resident asking (again) exactly how I will solve the deficit; Lino Lakes resident against a public utility competing against other firms for non-utility business; Shoreview resident supporting charging parents of public school students a fee for attendance; Shoreview resident with idea for balancing the budget; Shoreview resident upset about the idea of extending unemployment and suggesting that if women would stay at home there would be no need for unemployment benefits; Shoreview resident concerned about recent change in property taxes; North Oaks resident against taxes and fees of any kind