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

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Ag news, bills advancing & the latest on MNLARS

Friday, March 23, 2018
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Representatives from both Future Farmers of America and the Farm Bureau met with me in St. Paul this week during National Agriculture Week. Thanks for stopping by!

Dear Neighbor,

This has been National Agriculture Week and we in Minnesota have taken great strides in supporting farmers and the ag. industry as a whole. As a result of Republican-led efforts, farmers across the state are seeing benefits this year.

First of all, 240,000 agriculture land owners will see $42 million in property tax relief by reducing the unfair burden farmers pay for school bond referendums.

In addition, more than 400 farmers are expected to benefit from a new tax credit designed to recruit the next generation of farmers.

Another new law in our state allows organizations with member owners – such as farm cooperatives – to provide health insurance to their members giving farmers the opportunity to secure health insurance with stable costs, but also gives them access to the local doctors.

And finally, the moratorium I placed on changing ditch-mowing policies has protected landowners over the last year, allowing more time to craft policy that respects property owners and prevents future government overreach. The moratorium is set to expire soon and I am working on legislation to extend it for another year because the process still has not adequately played out.

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Insurance Day on the Hill also came this week and I was pleased to meet with Kevin Amundson and Kurtis Parlin to discuss issues related to that industry.

First House deadline

Numerous bills I have authored this year received hearings this week ahead of Friday’s deadline to make initial progress and remain viable for passage this session. Among those bills are:

  • HF 3761: Exceptions to threatened and endangered species protections modified.
  • HF 3472: Saltwater aquatic farm requirements modified.
  • HF 4008: Moratorium established until April 30, 2019, prohibiting road authorities from establishing a permit process for citizens who want to mow and or bale hay on state road rights of way.
  • HF 3856: Well notification fees limited.
  • HF 1876: Trade associations permitted vehicle registration information access, and fee waived.

MNLARS bill passes

While most of our time at the Capitol this week was spent on committee work this week, the House and Senate both provided final approval of a bill to help keep the state’s new vehicle license and registration program operating. The new system has encountered serious problems and, without funding, the new MN.IT commissioner testified MNLARS contractors would be laid off at the end of the month.

That would have only made things worse for a system Minnesotans are counting on to perform. But, instead of simply handing over more money, the legislation we approved will bring more accountability to make sure results are delivered. For instance, one provision requires a request for information to determine whether a private vendor is a better option.

Until next time, have a great weekend and your feedback always is welcome.