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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - June 28, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

Dear neighbors,

Since many Minnesotans will probably be spending time at one of our state’s many lakes this weekend and over the Fourth of July, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about aquatic invasive species.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are an ongoing problem in Minnesota waters and a significant threat to their long-term health. They damage our tourism and fishing economies; impact water quality; compete with native plants, wildlife, and ecosystems; and interfere with lake use.

I worked hard on combatting the spread of AIS this session. I introduced legislation that provides grants to the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), a national leader in AIS research. MAISRC, which is part of the University of Minnesota, will use this funding to continue studying the invasive animals, plants, and diseases that have been discovered in Minnesota and to develop research-based solutions to reduce the impact of AIS. My bill was signed into law as part of the environment and natural resources budget.

The environment and natural resources budget also increases AIS monitoring and education at boat launches and provides grants to communities for prevention efforts. A slight increase to the cost of three-year watercraft licenses provides funding that will help ensure that Minnesotans can continue swimming, fishing, and boating for years to come.

The actions of individual Minnesotans are crucial to stopping the spread of AIS. Here’s a few things to keep in mind this summer:

  • Clean boats, trailers, and all water-related equipment before leaving an access point or shore.
  • Drain boats, portable bait containers, and other water-related equipment before leaving an access point or shore. Remove drain plugs and keep them out when you’re transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • If you suspect a new infestation of AIS, please report it to a local DNR invasive species contact. Contact information is available here.

If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to fight AIS and Minnesota’s AIS laws, the DNR is an excellent resource. Their guide to AIS practices and laws is available here.

Invasive carp like this one could become established in Minnesota. DNR officials recently announced that silver carp had been caught in the St. Croix River. If you capture invasive carp, you must report it to the DNR immediately. Please take a photo of the fish and call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us to make arrangements to transport the fish.

New Laws Taking Effect July 1

The AIS legislation is one of the many new laws that will go into effect on Monday, June 1. A list with more detail on each of the laws is available here. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The E-12 education budget: This legislation invests in Minnesota schools and children of all ages. It contains an annual two percent increase in per-student funding and significant support for special education. It also preserves voluntary pre-K opportunities for 4,000 of our youngest learners.
  • The Legacy Amendment bill: The Legacy Amendment generates revenue that’s used to maintain and improve parks, trails, and public lands; restore water quality; preserve Minnesota history and culture; and expand arts access and education. This year’s bill includes many strong investments. I’m particularly excited about the grants for the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • A new wage theft law: We passed the strongest wage theft prevention and enforcement law in the country this session. This legislation will ensure that all Minnesotans receive an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.
  • The opioid crisis response bill: Our comprehensive plan to address the opioid epidemic holds pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating and profiting from the opioid epidemic. It raises fees paid by drug manufacturers and distributors to provide funding for prevention, treatment, and public safety.
  • The higher education budget: This section of the budget provides funding for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. It also increases benefits for students who are currently enrolled in the state grant program and expands eligibility for the program.
  • The agriculture budget: This legislation includes more funding for farmer mental health outreach, innovative agricultural research, and assistance for dairy farmers. My bill to prevent pesticide damage to public lands will go into effect as part of this budget.

West St. Paul Pride in the Park

Please join me to celebrate Pride in West St. Paul! Community members are welcome to attend a family-friendly Pride in the Park event this Sunday. There will be picnic food and activities for people of all ages. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP on Facebook so organizers can plan accordingly. I hope to see you there.

When: Sunday, June 30 from 12:30 – 4:30pm
Where: Southview Park, 275 Westview Drive, West St. Paul, MN 55118

Flag Etiquette

I encourage you to check out the Minnesota Secretary of State’s guide to flag etiquette before the Fourth of July holiday. The guide, which is available here, explains the proper way to handle and display the United State flag. It also includes information on flag laws in Minnesota and the history of the flag.

I hope you have a cool weekend and a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July.

Sincerely,

Rick Hansen
State Representative

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