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

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This week's news from St. Paul

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

In this week’s update, let’s look at one bill the House approved, another bill that is headed to the floor and one more that is set to begin the committee process.

The bill (H.F. 124) I authored to take a stand against the DNR’s expansion of ditch-mowing permits is set to start the committee process by receiving its first hearing. It will be presented to the Transportation and Regional Governance Policy Committee during its 1 p.m. Wednesday meeting.

I encourage citizens interested in this issue to testify at this meeting and you are welcome to contact my office if you have any questions. Click here for a news release I recently issued regarding my bill. You also can click here for the host committee’s home page with more information.

Another bill (H.F. 375) I authored to allow counties more latitude in supporting monuments to veterans is scheduled to head to the floor for a House floor for a vote on Monday. As I mentioned in last week’s email, my bill 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.

As for the legislation we approved, on Monday the full House passed legislation to replenish funding for a loan program that is popular among farmers working on start-ups or looking to upgrade their operations.

The bill (H.F. 14) appropriates $35 million to the Rural Finance Authority for loans to eligible farmers. The norm is for RFA funding to be provided through capital investment bills but, with no bonding bill approved in 2016, the pot ran dry.

The RFA partners with agricultural lenders to provide low-cost financing to farmers on terms and conditions not otherwise available from other credit sources. The RFA portion of the loan is carried at a reduced interest rate to improve the cash flow of eligible farmers. RFA offer loans within the beginning farmer loan and seller assisted program, agricultural improvement program, debt restructuring program, and livestock expansion programs.

The legislation calls for $35 million in bond proceeds to be allocated for future RFA loans. These bonds are 100-percent user-financed, meaning the state will be paid back.

It is good we brought urgency to the bill and passed it as a single item to free up the pipeline for loans now as opposed to waiting to include it in a bonding package sometime in May.

This proposal now is in the hands of the Senate. More information on RFA programs can be found at or by calling (651) 201-6556.

Stay tuned as things unfold in St. Paul and, as always, your input is welcome.

Have a good weekend,