Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

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

Back to profile

News from St. Paul

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

A quick side note before we get to the issues at hand: The Buffalo Ridge chapter of American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education (A.B.A.T.E.) of Minnesota will be hosting its 22nd annual chili feed starting at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Caboose in Tracy. Click here for more information from A.B.A.T.E. on this and other events. Hope you can make it out to support a great cause and get your fill of chili.

Please feel free to email me the necessary details if you have a public event scheduled in District 16A and I will try to include them in my updates as time and space allow.

As for news from the Capitol, a bill I have authored allowing county boards more flexibility in appropriating money for veterans memorials is ready to come to the House floor for a vote of the full body. This bill (H.F. 375) would undo a bad law on the state’s books which prohibits county boards from funding memorials to veterans outside of their respective county seats. That current restriction is unnecessary and my proposal would allow for more local discretion. Stay tuned.

On another note, I have been appointed to a task force which addresses materials which often are overlooked but literally provide the foundation for our everyday lives.

The task force is officially known as the Aggregate Resources Task Force. It was created in 1998 to examine sustainable management of materials such as sand, gravel, clay, earth and bedrock. These substances are used to construct our transportation infrastructure, homes, offices, schools, factories and more.

As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Mining, Forestry and Tourism, I also will chair this committee.

Reports indicate the statewide annual demand for aggregates is over 50 million tons per year, an increase of about 50 percent since the early 1980s. That increase has outpaced previous projections, tapping mines sooner and causing mine operators to seek resources farther from where they are needed.

This is one of those subjects most people won’t think about until there is real trouble and I would just as soon never reach that point. Aggregates are so crucial to our society, yet there are real concerns on the horizon. Our job is to ensure aggregate resources are responsibly managed today so materials remain affordable and accessible for future generations.”

The task force must study and provide recommendations to the Legislature prior by June 30, 2018. By law, the group’s report must address:

  • The Department of Natural Resources' and Metropolitan Council's aggregate mapping progress and needs.
  • The effectiveness of recent aggregate tax legislation and the use of the revenues collected by counties.
  • The use of state funds to preserve aggregate reserves.
  • Local land use and permitting issues, environmental review requirements, and the impacts of other state regulations on aggregate reserves.

This is a complex set of issues with no easy solutions, which is what makes this work so important. I look forward to formulating bipartisan recommendations to help our state take constructive, appropriate action.