The House elected four members to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents this week, including General Mills CEO Ken Powell and former House Speaker Steve Sviggum as new board members. The House also re-elected two current regents, David McMillan and Darrin Rosha.
The regents are responsible for guiding the U of M in its mission. There are 12 board members on staggered six-year terms, each representing regions of the state. Our District 7 regent is Tom Anderson, of Alexandria, who was elected in 2015.
As for news on legislation this week, on Thursday the House passed a bill to bring Minnesota’s ID into compliance with new federal standards for such purposes as boarding commercial flights.
Without a change in state law, standard Minnesota driver’s licenses will no longer be acceptable for boarding planes as soon as January of 2018. Minnesota is one of only a few states which remains out of compliance with the new standards.
The House’s proposal (H.F. 3) features a two-path approach which allows people who want a Real ID to receive one, while also providing citizens the ability to continue using their current ID if they so choose. The Senate version of the bill (S.F. 166) is making its way through the committee process.
Also on Thursday, the House passed a variation of legislation I authored bill to provide funding for state wetland banks, addressing a statewide issue that certainly is impacting Ottertail County. Current law stipulates that wetlands taken up by road construction must be replaced at a ratio of two units replacing each unit used. Funding is necessary for these transactions to take place, but that pot currently is empty and road projects are being put on hold. The bill we passed provides $5 million on stop-gap funding to get things going in time for the spring construction season and we will look to revisit the subject later this session.
The House started the week on Monday by passing a bill to legalize Sunday off-sale liquor sales in Minnesota. Sunday’s prohibition on product deliveries would remain. Hours of operation are the major differences that need to be reconciled before the bill is sent to the governor for enactment. The House proposal is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while the Senate is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The change in law would occur July 1.
Stay tuned for more news soon and, as always, your input is welcome.