We’ve made it to the 2015 Legislative Session, and I’ll begin by saying that I am honored to work toward progress for my constituents and all Minnesotans and to be a part of a larger team that includes local leaders at all levels: county, city and school district. Each of these groups works throughout the year to identify areas where state law can be updated or improved to help serve our communities at the local level, and they will be meeting with us legislators to present their legislative requests and priorities. As in the past two sessions, I very much look forward to hearing these requests and partnering with them to craft and pass effective legislation to better serve communities in my district as well as around Minnesota.
Originally published in the Woodbury Bulletin
When I think back to my days as a student, I remember the importance and value of the school counselor – the academic guidance, the career path advice, the comfort of knowing I had somebody to just talk to. The direct services provided by a school counselor are what help students develop academically, mentally, and socially, paving the way for students to enter adulthood with peace of mind as they set out on their chosen paths.
I remember what my high school counselor meant to me. She told me to pick my dream school, pick a safe school, pick schools in between, and understand my options – advice I’ve passed along to others over the years. I know how important positive guidance is Minnesota students, which is why I’m determined to pass legislation to expand school counseling services in the upcoming session.
Originally published by Mike Longanecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Local lawmakers said the Gateway Corridor project picked up momentum this year at the Legislature, even though it didn’t receive the dedicated bonding money originally sought.
The east metro transit project could receive state dollars, but that will be up to the Metropolitan Council – the entity that received $15 million to be divvied up among metro transportation projects at its discretion.
Woodbury-area lawmakers had sought $5 million to fund environmental studies and preliminary engineering for the project, which would connect Woodbury with St. Paul’s Union Depot through a dedicated transitway serviced by either light rail or high-speed buses.
When Governor Dayton signed the new minimum wage into law on April 14, it was the culmination of an extensive process of working toward a policy that will benefit Minnesota. It has also been an extensive process for me, as I have spent considerable time and effort speaking with constituents and business owners, as well as researching the issue to understand the impact for our state and my district. In the end, I believe this process has worked well, resulting in a policy that will continue our progress in building a strong economic future for Minnesota.
Saint Paul, Minn. – One of the most widely-debated bills of this legislative session, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act passed the Senate with a vote of 36 to 31. Senator Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) has championed the bill since its inception and celebrated the victory as a major step forward for Minnesota students.
“Today we made strides in ensuring the protection and well-being of children across Minnesota,” said Sen. Kent. “Too often, we’ve heard troubling stories about the bullying our kids have endured and how it was not properly addressed. The Safe and Supportive Schools Act not only addresses bullying; it seeks to prevent it and keep our kids safe.”
Before the passage of this legislation, Minnesota’s anti-bullying policy was deemed “weakest in the nation” by the U.S. Department of Education, as it contained only 37 words and did not define bullying. The Safe and Supportive Schools Act has changed that, as it defines bullying, states that all students are protected under the legislation, and encourages school districts to provide appropriate support for students dealing with bullying. Parental notification, a component of the bill that raised concern among many, was especially important to Sen. Kent, who believes that transparency and communication between parents and teachers is essential.
“As the mother of a Minnesota student, it’s reassuring to know that should an incident occur, my son will be safe and I will be notified,” Sen. Kent ended. “As a legislator, I am proud to have worked so hard toward something that will benefit kids across the state by preventing and properly addressing an issue as significant as bullying. I am so grateful for all of those who have supported this bill throughout the legislative process.”