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

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Legislative Update - July 18, 2019

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dear neighbors,

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) was established in 1967 to protect our air, water, and land. In my next legislative updates, I’ll talk about how the legislation that my colleagues and I passed this session helps the MPCA continue this important work.

Protecting Clean Water

As Minnesotans, we’re proud to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We expect to drink clean water and to enjoy swimmable and fishable lakes, rivers, and streams. That’s one reason why Minnesotans voted to adopt the Legacy Amendment, which I helped create as a junior member of the conference committee that wrote it in 2008. The Legacy Amendment raises sales taxes by three-eighths of one percent for 25 years and divides the revenue amongst four funds. One of them, the Clean Water Fund, helps restore and enhance water quality and protect drinking water.

This session, the Legislature approved $261 million in investments from the Clean Water Fund. $46.5 million will go towards work that’s done by the MPCA. Here’s some of the work that this funding supports:

  • Monitoring and assessing lakes, rivers, and groundwater
  • Great Lakes restoration
  • Protecting and restoring Minnesota’s 80 watersheds, areas where a common set of streams and rivers feed into a larger body of water
  • The National Park water quality protection program
  • Wastewater and stormwater management
  • Enhancing inspections of septic systems
  • Accelerated implementation of municipal stormwater permits
  • Chloride reduction
  • Groundbreaking work on plastics  

 

The environment and natural resources budget provides support for the MPCA’s efforts to protect our water as well. Initiatives that received funding include:

  • Cleaning up eleven sites on the St. Louis River that were contaminated in the past
  • Helping cities optimize existing wastewater treatment facilities
  • Research on reducing mercury pollution in municipal wastewater
  • Studying water permitting responsibilities

 

It’s great to work with Mendota Mayor Brian Mielke and Mendota Heights Mayor Neil Garlock. Here we are in the VFW parking lot on Mendota Day.

Hands-Free Law

Distracted driving is a factor in one in five accidents on Minnesota roads. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, it causes an average of 53 deaths and 216 serious injuries each year. A new law that reminds drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road will take effect on Thursday, August 1.

The hands-free law prohibits holding a cell phone while driving on Minnesota roads. Similar policies have reduced crashes and fatalities in several states. A guide with more information about the law and tips for going hands-free is available here.

Stay in Touch

I always appreciate hearing from constituents, so please don’t hesitate to share your questions or concerns. You can reach me at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or 651-296-6828.

Sincerely,

Rick Hansen
State Representative 

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