The 2005 Legislative Session was a highly successful one. In my first year as a legislator, I authored 15 pieces of legislation. Many of them were either approved by the Minnesota House of Representatives or signed into law by Gov. Pawlenty.
It was definitely a learning experience for me -- understanding how the system works and finding out what it takes to get legislation passed. Hopefully, I made some positive changes for Minnesotans in the new laws I authored. Here are some of them:
The first law modifies the traffic rules for passing parked emergency vehicles. I introduced it based on past tragedies of police officers who were killed by passing motorists.
The bill (HF1164) calls for all vehicles when approaching and before passing a parked emergency vehicle displaying its emergency lights to slow to 10 mph less than the posted speed limit, or to move two or more lanes over if able on a multi-lane roadway. Both scenarios would be moot if a police officer is directing traffic.
A second piece of legislation created a new teaching mentoring program for certain school districts. The bill calls for the state's education commission to select up for four school districts to assist other districts in a given region with the development of an effective mentoring program. One of those sites must include the Brainerd teacher support system, which has been cited by the Minnesota Board of Teaching as a model program and was one of six programs in the nation to be recognized for the 2004 NEA-Saturn/UAW partnership award.
As your representative, I will work hard to approve legislation important to you and all Minnesotans. As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions. Please contact me through my St. Paul office at 1-800-683-4205 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Paul Gazelka
Schools have gone overboard
I applaud the recent Open Forum writer for his stand for abstinence and I'm incensed by people who knock it. In my youth it was the normal way of life and now people act as if you are out of your mind if you even think about it. Sometimes I wonder if schools have gone overboard with sex education. Our four daughters graduated between 1973 and 1979 so it's changed a lot since that time I'm sure.
May I take this opportunity to ask all your readers to contact their congressman and senators to demand harsher sentences for those charged with DUI? Their vehicles should be confiscated and licenses revoked permanently. Accidents caused by them are all too frequent and deaths resulting are a tragedy.
Also, those child molesters should never be let out of prison. The new law keeping the worst offenders in jail is good but it seems as if all of them repeat offenses as soon as they are released, so why not keep all of them locked up permanently?
Carol L. Ferguson
Relay for Life is Friday
Mark Friday, July 29, on your calendar and come down to Don Adamson Field for a look or a few laps around the track. Help our county honor the many cancer survivors and volunteers and remember those who are no longer with us. Luminaries lighted at dusk are an awesome sight to see. Food is available for purchase and a large silent auction will be held. If you've attended before you'll want to come again. If you've never attended, come and see what it's all about. It's a community celebration! Cancer survivor reception is at 5:30 p.m. Opening ceremony is 7 p.m. Hope to see you there.
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