What’s new at the Capitol? Uglem gives update

As the former Mayor of Champlin, I’ve had quite a bit of experience dealing with the Metropolitan Council. The Met Council was originally intended to oversee infrastructure development and transit within the metro area. Since its inception, it has grown significantly larger in size, scope, power and budget.

The members of the Met Council are appointed by the Governor, and serve at the pleasure of the governor. That has resulted in the Met Council becoming increasingly politicized with little dissenting opinion or ideological variety.

I have introduced legislation that has garnered bipartisan support that would stagger Met Council terms to allow for a more balanced board makeup. Rather than appointments ending all at once, they would be staggered moving forward.

Current members in even-numbered districts would serve until January 2015, with the members in odd-numbered districts serving until January 2017.

That way, as Republicans and Democrats change power in the governor’s mansion, there would (in theory) be representatives from both parties on the board, giving it more balance.

If Governor Dayton is defeated by a Republican in 2014, half of his appointees would remain on the board, with a Republican appointing the other half.

In 2018, if a Democrat were to win, they would appoint new members to serve alongside the Republican appointees, and so on.

I’m pleased that Republicans and Democrats alike have signed on to my bill to help bring a little more balance to this regional government entity.

This week the House passed $3.5 million in additional funding to expand school lunch funding for low-income students. There was a report last month that found some districts were denying school lunches to children without enough money in their school lunch accounts. This bill fixes that problem, and will allow all kids to make sure they get a meal at lunch time, and can focus on the important task of learning in the classroom. The House passed the bill unanimously, and is expected to be heard in the Senate next week.

As always, my door is always open. If you have questions, comments, or would like to schedule a meeting, please call my office at 651-296-5513 or email rep.mark.uglem@house.mn.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the warmer weather.

 

Mark Uglem

State Representative, District 36A

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