Connecting Minnesota students with high-demand jobs

Published 8:45 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Friends and neighbors,

We are in the final weeks of the 2024 legislative session, and there is still a lot of important work that needs to be done for the people of Minnesota. On a positive note, I am pleased to share that the fiscal omnibus bill of the Senate Taxes Committee includes key legislation I authored. This bill expands the application of the K-12 education credit to include expenses for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

Gene Dornink

Email newsletter signup

The Association for Career and Technical Education says roughly half of Minnesota’s jobs require some skills training — less than a four-year degree, but more than a high school diploma. Our employers need more skilled labor, and Minnesotans need these kinds of programs that lead to stable wages and employment. Career and technical education programs fill both needs, and my legislation will help families have a little extra money for CTE training.

This instruction often happens outside of the regular school building and school day at programs like Future Farmers of America and SkillsUSA, but doesn’t meet the current criteria for the educational tax credit. My bill allows parents of these students to claim the K-12 education income tax credit so they can offset some expenses to help send their kids to these vital programs. This bill is good for parents, students and businesses.

While I am grateful to share this piece of good news coming out of the Capitol, I would be remiss to not mention the difficult situation facing the Minnesota Senate.

As many of you have already heard, Sen. Nicole Mitchell, who, under the cover of darkness, allegedly committed a premeditated act of burglary. Despite facing charges of first-degree felony burglary, Sen. Mitchell continues her duties in the Senate.

To uphold the integrity of the Senate, Senate Republicans filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Mitchell. Democrats, however, thwarted our efforts to launch an immediate investigation into her conduct and chose to protect Sen. Mitchell and their one-vote majority.

Additionally, Senate Republicans’ attempts to prevent Sen. Mitchell from voting, until her legal and ethical issues are resolved, were met with strong resistance from Democrats. Sen. Mitchell’s participation in voting, despite facing serious criminal charges, undermines the legitimacy of legislative decisions and harms the public’s trust in the democratic process.

On Tuesday, the Senate Ethics Subcommittee will convene to address the complaint against Sen. Mitchell. I am calling for accountability, justice and the restoration of public trust.

Despite the unprecedented circumstances, I am committed to not allowing the issues of Sen. Mitchell to get in the way of important legislation for the people I serve. There is still a lot of critical work to be done this legislative session.

Gene Dornink, R-Brownsdale, is the District 23 senator.