Rep Keith Franke Capitol Update (5/25/2018)

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Representative Keith Franke

Representative Keith Franke

By Rep. Keith Franke, 5/25/2018

Dear Neighbors,

Last Sunday, we finished up the 2018 legislative session by passing our major bills containing initiatives like tax conformity and school safety. I believe I was successfully able to advocate for our area, and help pass provisions important to local residents. Protecting our drinking water, keeping our schools safer, and increasing penalties for those who break the law behind the wheel are significant provisions I was able to push for and help get passed in the legislature. It’s unfortunate that Governor Dayton decided to veto some of our major bipartisan proposals, but I’m hoping to see some of my provisions signed into law to help our area and our state.

Local Bills

This session, I’ve been working hard on issues that impact our area. I co-authored a bill to ensure transparency regarding the $850 million 3M settlement, as well as place some needed guardrails on how this money is allocated. Our bill makes sure the funds are used in our area – where it belongs – to enhance the quality and sustainability of drinking water. This legislation passed on a wide bipartisan vote in the House, and I’m hoping to see the governor sign it into law.

I also had a local project – the Seidl’s Lake stormwater lift station – included in our bonding proposal that we passed this year. Another important part of our bonding bill is nearly $9.5 million to fund the HERO Center in Cottage Grove. My friend and colleague, Rep. Tony Jurgens, authored this bill, and I was one of the co-authors. The HERO Center would be a big addition to our area to help train first responders. I’m really hoping the governor will put aside the partisan politics and at least sign our bonding bill so we can get moving on these important projects.

Public Safety Provisions Vetoed

One of my priorities in the legislature is keeping Minnesotans safe. On this topic, there’s not a more important way to protect our residents than to improve school safety. This year, we passed a bill containing my provision to require and fund school districts to establish a threat assessment team, which include members in various areas of expertise relating to school safety, who must assess, intervene, and report individuals that may pose a safety risk to the school. I believe this is one piece of the puzzle in helping keep our schools safer for students, teachers, and staff.

Another bill I authored would increase penalties for distracted driving if a driver is using their cell phone and injures or kills someone. I was able to pass a modified version of this that increases the penalties for those caught texting and driving, hopefully deterring this behavior behind the wheel.

I also put some of my life experience to use in order to advocate for new ways to prevent and treat addiction. I passed one provision to combat the opioid epidemic by modifying prescribing limits. Another frees up federal grant dollars on a two-to-one match to get people assistance with recovery and addiction issues. The issue of addiction has taken on a whole new light with the recent passing of my friend and employee, and I hope we can continue to make strides in helping those struggling with this disease. If you’re interested, here’s a clip of me speaking about this devastating experience on the House floor.

The governor vetoed the bill that contained all of these safety provisions, and I’ve been having trouble understanding why. He started out with over 100 objections to our bill and we removed or modified nearly 70% of them, meeting him much further than halfway. I’m extremely disappointed to see my provisions to improve school safety, make our roads safer, and fight addiction in our state be vetoed. To me, it seems like partisan politics came before all of these issues for the governor. It’s tough to handle, but also motivates me even more to get these provisions signed into law.

Please Contact Me

Despite the recent setbacks, it’s been an incredible two sessions in St. Paul. I’m truly honored to serve our area and it’s been amazing to interact with so many residents of our district and bring your insights and opinions back to the Capitol. Though session is ending, I hope you’ll still call or email if I can ever be of assistance.

Memorial Day

It’ll be a warm Memorial Day weekend. Though it looks and feels like the official start to summer, it’s important to remember the reason behind Memorial Day. This is a time for us to honor those who’ve fought and died for our country. We owe so much to these brave men and women for sacrificing everything so we can live free.

Sincerely,

Keith

State Representative Keith Franke
567 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155
651-296-4342
rep.keith.franke@house.mn

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