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

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This week's news from the Capitol

Thursday, March 29, 2018

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Thank you to members of the SMSU chapter of Students United who visited me this week at the Capitol to discuss issues related to higher education.

Dear Neighbor,

Legislation I authored was part of a bipartisan series of bills related to mental health for farm families which received hearings in the House Agriculture Finance Committee this week.

The bill (H.F. 3255) I authored provides $140,000 next year for to support increased mental health counseling for farmers. This bill is really going to expand mental health access to people in Minnesota, especially farmers. The issue is that we’ve got one person that works across the state. We have a big state geographically, and it can be tough getting around to people. We heard from a lot of people who work in this industry that maybe there’s room for a second person and so my bill essentially works to fund that position to help divide the state up a bit and make it easier to serve those around the state.

This proposal also provides recourse if, for example someone gets their car stuck in the snow on the way to an appointment and is unable to make their session. Wait times can be long to reschedule appointments but, through my bill, people who find themselves in a bind such as that would be able to seek other help that may be available more readily. Life happens and people who are facing immediate mental health needs should not be forced to wait weeks or months to visit a doctor because of an unexpected turn of events.

My bill was well received by the Ag Finance Committee, along with other proposals related to mental health for farmers brought forward.

Here are a few other bills of mine received which received hearings in House committees this week and also continue moving through the process:

  • HF 3918 would exempt people from paying sales taxes when purchasing a gun safe. This bipartisan bill is gaining momentum as the session unfolds and it also received a good reception from a House committee and remains in the mix this session.
  • H.F. 1876 provides retailers with remedies for gas station retailers when customers drive off in rental vehicles without paying for their gas. Businesses have had a hard time tracking down people performing these drive-offs and this bill will help facilitate prosecution in those instances.
  • H.F. 2858 is a bill I authored to update the law as it pertains to lights that are permissible while hunting. It, along with the other bills, remains in the process.
  • H.F. 3856 makes it clear that a single $275 fee is charged for borings on the same project map.

Until next time, here’s wishing you and yours a blessed Easter/Passover holiday.