Balance Local Control

State Legislature: Open for the People’s Business

By January 9, 2015 No Comments

By Sam Walseth, MREA Director of Legislative Affairs 

The 2015 session is officially underway. While the odd-numbered year, budget-setting session starts off slowly, it will pick up steam and go by very quickly. The legislature will be dividing up limited pots of money before we know it. View the first set of bills introduced in the House and the Senate.

Calendar & Flexibility

Now is a good time to start contacting your legislators, especially if you have district specific bills like fund transfer requests or if you would like them to offer a bill to allow your district to begin next year before Labor Day. MREA has heard frustration from members about next September’s late start. To achieve some kind of calendar flexibility, even for just one year, MREA recommends districts ask their legislators to introduce district specific legislation to allow districts to start when the respective board and community want to start.

Cramped Quarters

Keep in mind the state Capitol is a construction zone mess. Senate quarters are cramped and it’s going to be a real test of everyone’s patience as the usual herds of interest group lobby days start arriving in waves over the next few months. It is the preference of several legislators, especially Senate DFLers who office in the Capitol, to meet with constituents back home in their districts, if possible. A good day to set up an in-district meeting is on Friday. Email also is a very functional way to communicate with them.