Friday, December 7, 2012
Sen. Chuck Wiger talks about paying back money borrowed from schools across the state.
Thanks to the improving economy in Minnesota, we will soon be able to pay back a portion of the funds borrowed from our schools during the 2011 Special Legislative Session. This good news was recently delivered by the State Economist Tom Stinson during the November Forecast press conference. We currently owe our education system $2.4 billion as a result of the recent school aid shift. The improved state economy has lead to a $1.3 billion balance in the state’s budget and those funds will automatically go back to our schools. The state sends aid to schools roughly every two weeks and there are two payments scheduled this month: Dec. 15 and 30. The Minnesota Department of Education is currently working to implement the increased school …
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wiger said he supports a bill that would allow electronic pull tabs and Bingo.
Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, spoke in favor Wednesday of allowing electronic forms of charitable gambling, such as electronic pull tabs or Bingo in a hearing of the Senate Committee on State Government Innovation and Veterans. The bill he was addressing, SF702, was recommended to pass and re-referred to the Committee on taxes.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Rep. Nora Slawik and Sen. Chuck Wiger critiqued the Florida governor's statements on education.
Rep. Nora Slawik and Sen. Chuck Wiger critiqued statements made by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whom Minnesota Republicans brought in Tuesday to speak on education reform.
Monday, April 25, 2011
A bill in the Minnesota Senate calls for creation of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force.
A recent report on autism prevalence among 8-year-olds in public schools shows that Minnesota has the highest rate of autism in the United States. The average rate in our country is one in every 126 8-year-olds, but in Minnesota, the rate increases to one in every 65. Considering these numbers, it is our duty to do what we can to understand autism and offer help to individuals with autism and their families. One bill I will be focusing on this year is the Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force Creation Bill. With this legislation, which I am a co-author, we want to bring together leaders in autism advocacy to create a statewide plan to improve Minnesota’s awareness and treatment. The bill calls for a 19-member group consisting of legislators…
Friday, April 8, 2011
Sen. Chuck Wiger expresses disappointment that the Minnesota Senate failed to pass anti-bullying legislation.
Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewod) spoke Tuesday at a press conference following the the Minnesota Senate's failure to pass anti-bullying legislation when offered as an amendment to the omnibus education bill on the Senate floor. Wiger said the provisions of the legislation, SF494, have had bipartisan support in the past, however, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed previous anti-bullying bills twice.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Citizens can submit their audit suggestions.
Accountability and openness are key aspects to a good government. One way our state government achieves this transparency is by publicly evaluating our programs, services, and government entities to ensure they are a true benefit to the state. The entity that conducts these evaluations is the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA). The OLA is a professional, nonpartisan audit and evaluation office that provides the Legislature, state agencies, and the public with reports. Through these reports, the OLA seeks to strengthen accountability and promote good management in government. The OLA is not just a tool for legislators; it should also be used by the people of Minnesota. I encourage you to visit the OLA website to see what they…
Saturday, April 2, 2011
The Minnesota Senate's omnibus education bill includes statewide salary freeze for school district employees.
Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-District 55) of Maplewood spoke Thursday against a provision in the Senate's omnibus education bill, SF1030, that would stop teachers statewide from getting pay raises, saying it is in unfair removal of local control. The proposed amendment did not pass, and a statewide teacher pay freeze is included in the Senate's bill.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Instead of focusing on unproven tax credits for the rich, we need to limit our cuts on our colleges and universities.
Minnesota's higher education system is one of the most reliable economic drivers in the state. Institutions like Century College are preparing the next generation of highly trained and skilled workers. Just last fall, 358 certificates, 199 diplomas and 931 associate degrees were awarded by Century College. These students are the future leaders in nursing, law enforcement, emergency medical services and many other areas. Beyond preparing the future workforce, our higher education system also makes a huge difference in our economy today. Every dollar invested in the University of Minnesota by the state generates $13.20 in the statewide economy (for more information on these numbers, visit http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/impact.php. The U of …
Saturday, March 26, 2011
There are lots of resources to help you take full advantage of Minnesota's parks and trails.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel." He was referring to the easy access we have to enjoying the great outdoors. Minnesotans are blessed with abundant local, regional and state parks. No matter where you live there are opportunities close by. Spring is here. I encourage you to get out and enjoy everything this magnificent area and state has to offer. With hiking, biking, fishing, bird watching, camping, canoeing and more, there are several ways to get out there. The metro council website, is an excellent guide for parks in the Twin Cities area. Our regional parks system, which is the best in …
Monday, March 21, 2011
Oakdale's representatives introduced companion bills last week that would help School District 622 and a volunteer committee raising money for a veterans' memorial in Oakdale.
Oakdale’s representatives in the Minnesota Legislature introduced last week two sets of companion bills that would provide funding for all-day kindergarten and a new veterans' memorial at Oakdale City Hall. The all-day kindergarten bills, HF1153 and SF937, would give school districts extra money for providing all-day, everyday kindergarten free of charge to their students. Funding would be based on the number of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunches that participate in the program. The goal is to increase at-risk kids’ participation in all-day kindergarten, said Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL—District 55B) of Maplewood. “All day kindergarten is crucial in closing the achievement gap,” Slawik said. Since School District 622 already …