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

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Legislative news

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Just a quick roundup of issues I want to pass along:

Successful pheasant opener

Hats off to the Marshall Area Chamber and everyone else who worked so hard to put on a successful Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener on Saturday.

Beyond the simple benefits of continuing family hunting traditions, pheasant season provides a strong economic boost to southwestern Minnesota. Leisure and hospitality generate more than $52 million per year in Lyon County alone and a good chunk of that comes during hunting season. It helps that our region generates some of the state’s highest pheasant numbers each year, a source of pride for people around here. Also, it is good that, from what I hear, the governor even left all the pheasants in the field for the rest of us!

Meeting to address ditch regulations

I am encouraging constituents to attend an upcoming meeting in Marshall, hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation early next month, to discuss state ditch-mowing policies.

Last year, MnDOT indicated it planned to change its statewide permitting standards for mowing and baling in ditches along Minnesota’s state roadways. Myriad concerns arose over the proposed changes and I successfully authored a bill placing a moratorium on new mowing rules along state highways – excluding county and township roads – until May of 2018.

The moratorium was established to ensure the public and key stakeholders had ample opportunity to provide input regarding the changes to permitting standards prior to their enforcement.

This is a chance for people who all those who have concerns about this issue to bring their message directly to MnDOT. I have heard from a large number of people in our area who are frustrated by this issue and see it as just the latest example of a top-down push by out-of-touch bureaucrats. Now it is important for people who have concerns to show up at this meeting so they can be part of the decision-making process.

The meeting will take place 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Marshall Middle School (401 S. Saratoga St., Marshall). Six other meetings also have been scheduled throughout the state. Anyone with questions can contact my office for more information at (651) 296-5374.

Defending Minnesota workers

Finally, you may have seen reports of a recent New York Times Magazine story which included a quote from Minnesota environmentalist Reid Carron disparaging miners in our state: “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock,” Carron said.

As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Mining, Forestry, and Tourism Commerce and Regulatory Reform, I issued the following statement to the media:

“The sad thing is Mr. Carron’s insults are far too typical of the anti-Iron Range crowd. It’s disgusting to hear these extreme environmentalists openly attack thousands of hard-working Minnesotans. Farmers are disparaged as well at times by these same groups.

“Miners are good, honest people waiting for government to finally get out of the way so they can get to work in modern facilities, continuing the proud legacy of mining in our state. Mr. Carron is now backtracking after catching backlash for his comments, but I think he made it pretty clear how he really feels. This should only add inspiration for us to do good work for the mining industry during the 2018 legislative session.”

Until next time, please stay in touch and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.