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State Representative Nick Zerwas

433 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4237

For more information contact: House GOP Communications 651-296-5522

Posted: 2018-05-04
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update (May 4, 2018)


Dear Neighbors,

Advocating for First Responders

On Thursday, I offered an amendment to the Supplemental State Government, Agriculture, Environment and Jobs Omnibus Bill, SF3656.

The amendment to recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an “occupational disease” in Minnesota statute was adopted on a unanimous vote of 124-0. If signed into law, the language would allow firefighters, police officers, and paramedics diagnosed with PTSD the presumption that the diagnosis is a work-related illness.

Yesterday’s vote in favor of my amendment shows a significant bipartisan commitment to taking care of emergency responders. This is a common sense provision to aid our first responders who may suffer from a serious mental health condition like PTSD. I’ve heard from a number of firefighters, police officers, and many others who support this language to modernize our state laws relating to mental health of first responders. If you're interested, here's a clip of some of my comments about the amendment from last night.

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Thanks to all the first responders who came to the Capitol on Thursday to support this provision!

Corridors of Commerce Announcement

We received great news on Wednesday as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) awarded up to $174 million to the project to convert Highway 169 in Elk River into a freeway as part of the Corridors of Commerce program.

Receiving Corridors of Commerce funding for Highway 169 is great news for our area. I’ve long been a proponent of using Corridors of Commerce dollars to expand this stretch of 169 into a freeway, and see this as a way to expand access to Elk River and increase the safety of one of our main thoroughfares.

We’ve repeatedly seen how the intersection of 169 and Main Street can be unsafe for pedestrians, like the tragic accident involving a local seventh-grader last September. Through the Corridors of Commerce funding, we’ll see the needed improvements to this stretch to help improve safety for our residents.

MnDOT awarded a total of $469 million to four projects intended to help boost our state’s economy going forward. I look forward to these dollars being used to expand our local transportation system, reducing congestion, improving safety, and aiding our area economy. I also want to thank Elk River city engineer Justin Femrite, the City of Elk River, Sherburne County, and the Elk River Chamber of Commerce for spearheading this effort, and getting it over the goal line.

Important Provision

We passed our larger bill related to public safety earlier this week. It contained legislation I authored to help break the cycle that can happen after Minnesotans receive a ticket for a minor traffic violation. What can happen, especially for low-income residents, is they receive a ticket, can’t afford to pay it right away, and can have their licenses suspended within 60 days. This makes it even harder to get to a job, causes increased costs, and only compounds the problem. Nobody is a winner in that scenario.

Now, I fully believe that if you do commit a traffic violation, you should have to pay the fine. But, our current system hurts low-income Minnesotans by creating a debt trap. My provision in our public safety bill changes that by preventing an individual’s driver’s license from being suspended if their only violation is an inability to pay the fine. My provision helps to break the cycle of debt and allows low-income Minnesotans to still drive their kids to school or get to work until they can afford to pay the ticket.

Please Contact Me

If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either rep.nick.zerwas@house.mn or 651-296-4237.

Have a great weekend,

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