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

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Bill to pause ditch-mowing regulations signed into law

Friday, April 7, 2017

ST. PAUL – The Senate version of a bill Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, authored to put the brakes on state agencies implementing ditch-mowing regulations was signed into law on Friday.

The language Gov. Mark Dayton enacted in approving S.F. 218 establishes until May of 2018 a moratorium on new mowing rules along state highways – excluding county and township roads. It was a compromise version of an earlier proposal Swedzinski authored (H.F. 124) which called for a full ban on new mowing implementations.

“I’m really happy with Gov. Dayton deciding to sign this bill,” Swedzinski said. “It’s a real big deal. We have heard a lot about this from folks out in rural Minnesota who are frustrated with this process that's gone on. We’re really hoping the governor and the Department of Transportation come to their senses and work with agriculture to move forward and hopefully just keep the status quo that has been working well for the last 100 years along our state highway system.”

The bill is in response to MnDOT last November indicating it plans to change its statewide permitting standards for mowing and baling in ditches along Minnesota’s state roadways. Swedzinski said MnDOT’s proposed changes would add unnecessary, impractical burdens on a significant number of property owners who have successfully managed their ditches for decades on end.