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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
During each legislative session, thousands of bills are introduced by lawmakers. I’ve found that some of the best bills come directly from citizens who alert me to problems that have been ignored for far too long. I thought I’d highlight a couple of these examples today. The first centers on our senior citizens who are trying to enjoy life by living in their homes. I have heard from several seniors who say this is becoming more difficult all the time due to rising property taxes. Sure, an extra few hundred bucks may not make a difference to some of you, but for folks who are over the age of 65, retired, facing increased prescription drug costs and living on fixed incomes, a few hundred bucks means a lot. That’s why I’m sponsoring legislation that would prevent a county assessor from raising assessments on a homeowner’s house and one acre of land after that person turns 65. I’ve already heard stories from senior citizens who say they are healthy enough to continue living in their homes, but were forced to leave simply due to the rapidly escalating property tax rates. This bill would provide them some financial protection during their golden years and help them keep the quality of life they’ve earned. Another bill I’m authoring would directly benefit people living in Greenfield Township near Wabasha, but would likely benefit all townships suffering from a similar circumstance. A resident contacted me recently noting that his street is contiguous to a county road, where speed limits are posted at 55 miles per hour. Here’s the problem: Once a driver turns on his residential street, the 55 mile per hour speed limit remains in effect. This is due to a law that states that any rural township road must be one-quarter mile or longer in order to have a new speed zone sign posted. As this particular short street has a high density of residential homes, as well as pedestrians who walk on the street because sidewalks are not available, you can see where potential problems arise with drivers believing they can maintain speeds of 55. The bill I’m authoring would give townships like Greenfield the authority to post a 30 mile per hour speed limit sign on roads that are less than a quarter of a mile long. This is an issue of public safety, and I believe this legislation could positively impact thousands of rural homeowners across the state.
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