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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Swedzinski bill takes stand against expanded ditch-mowing permits

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


ST. PAUL – State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, has authored a bill he said aims to protect a sizeable number of Minnesota landowners who have expressed concern over expanded MnDOT permitting governing roadside ditches.

The crux of the issue is MnDOT recently changed its statewide permitting standards for mowing and baling in the right of way. Swedzinski said the changes add an unnecessary burden on property owners, altering the way some families have managed their land for more than half a century.

“People are frustrated,” Swedzinski said. “They see this as another example of government encroachment with unelected bureaucrats in St. Paul making decisions that illustrate yet again how out of touch they are with rural Minnesota.”

Specifically, Swedzinski’s bill (H.F. 124) prohibits road authorities from regulating when ditches may or may not be mowed and also prevents requiring permits to be obtained for mowing.

“This is about being practical and protecting property owners,” Swedzinski said. “We all care about roadside habitats for birds and other wildlife and want to be good stewards of our land, but this kind of agency overreach needs to be held in check. State statute has been in place regarding mowing ditches since the 1980s, so why are the agencies just now deciding to add more red tape?”