Legislative Update – October 29, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

I hope the fall has been treating you well. For those of you with children, I hope the kids are back into full swing at school and you’re ready for parent teacher conferences.

Education Policy Next Week

Next week I’ll be attending a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees to discuss changes in teacher licensure. If you have any questions you would like asked, please let me know.

50 Years Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Secretary of State Steve Simon is spending the year encouraging all eligible Minnesotans who are not yet registered to vote to visit www.mnvotes.org and register. If you are already registered to vote, you can confirm your voter registration information is up to date, and encourage your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

Voting is a crucial part of a keeping our democracy strong and our community engaged. I know many of you are actively engaged in the electoral process, but this is also an important reminder to talk to your friends, family members, and neighbors about registering to vote.

I often hear about automatic voter registration. What do you think about automatic voter registration, for example when you renew your driver’s license?

House High School Page Program

Modeled after the United States Congress Page Program, the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program was established in 1975. Today, the program remains dedicated to providing students with meaningful opportunities and has evolved into one of the top page programs in the nation.

Throughout the course of their week in Saint Paul, High School Page Program participants are exposed to a wide variety of experiences, designed to provide them with a deep understanding of our state government.

The Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program is open to all Minnesota high school students in their JUNIOR year. Program participants are selected in the fall of each year based on a formal process which includes an application, faculty recommendation, and an essay.

Applications are due by December 4th! For more information and the applications, please visit the High School Page Program website.

Pollinators in Northfield

You may have noticed pollinators—bees, butterflies and other native insects—have gotten a lot of attention in the news. It’s clear that they’re on a rapid decline and one of the factors is the the overuse and misuse of pesticides. I’m working with members of the community and elected officials in Northfield to make sure we’re not contributing to the problem and being good stewards of our public spaces. If you’re interested in learning more or helping with the effort, feel free to contact me.

Northfield Fall Harvest Fest

This Saturday will be the Northfield Harvest Fest. The Harvest Fest is a fun family event that includes a pumpkin patch, corn-filled sandbox, a corn maze, kids’ barrel rides, mini-mazes and lawn games. Pumpkin Playland hours run from 11am-5pm.

What: Northfield Harvest Fest

When: Saturday, October 31st

Where: Bridgewater Produce Farm (4706 Lonsdale Blvd E)

Fall on Display in Minnesota

Fall is in full swing and state agencies are highlighting Minnesota’s natural beauty. The MN DNR is tracking color change in the state parks. Broken down by region, anyone can go to the DNR’s Fall Color Finder to find nearby state parks and a brief description of the color change in each of the state parks.

If you and your family are interested in visiting a local apple orchard visit Minnesota Grown and search by location or by product to find a local food producer.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Comment Period

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is in the process of writing a Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. The first formal step of the rulemaking process is to solicit comments from the public on the proposed rule through a Request for Comments. The Request for Comments was published in the State Register on Monday October 26, 2015 and the comment period will be open until Friday January, 29 2016.

More information about the proposed rule and rulemaking process can be found on the MDA Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule website.

Forever Green Tour

This week I joined Rep. Erin Murphy, Rep. Peter Fischer, and Sen. John Marty for a Forever Green tour. The tour showcased on the ground research at the University of Minnesota, demonstrating developments of continuous living cover crops that can be marketed in a variety of ways.

Forever Green is groundbreaking research not being done anywhere else. It’s attracting top talent to the University.

As the author of the Forever Green legislation, it’s great to see the progress being made to create crops that lead to more healthy soil, better retention of water, more diversity, and better opportunities for farmers to have more feasible crops to choose from.

If you’re driving around and see bare soil, it’s a sign that we could be taking better care of that land and growing perennials and cover crops that will benefit the land owner.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have.


David Bly

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