Happy Independence Day week! I hope your summer is off to a good start and that you are able to get out and enjoy the festivities this week as we celebrate our nation’s independence. Please be safe out on the roads, on the boat or around fireworks.
While the start of July means Independence Day celebrations, July 1 also meant many new laws went into effect with the beginning of the new fiscal year. The state’s new two-year budget is in place, with funding for various areas, from transportation, to environment, public safety, K-12 education and more. Other subjects of new laws include heart screenings and the state’s opiate response.
Click here for an overview of notable changes. In addition, all laws passed by the 2019 Legislature are available at this link. One thing to note: The new law prohibiting people from using hand-held phones while driving does not take effect until Aug. 1. It’s still a good idea to start using hands-free methods even now as we await the official change in statute.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has rolled out the new Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative (DAIRI) program, which provides financial assistance for small- to medium-size dairy producers to help cover the costs of a federal Margin Protection Plan insurance program. This year, we provided $8 million for DAIRI to ensure that our dairy farmers can continue to do their good work. Click here to apply or to find more information on how to qualify.
Letter to Gov. re: Line 3
Last week, I signed on to a letter to the governor regarding the continuing process for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project. The courts recently delivered a split decision requiring additional information for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Line 3 project. Now, the Public Utilities Commission must begin the process to correct the FEIS deficiency, and the Department of Commerce must complete Lake Superior spill modeling in order for the permitting process to proceed.
This is a good project that already has been delayed too long. I encourage the PUC to move quickly on this so the appropriate tasks can be completed and we can move forward on replacing this aging, important piece of infrastructure.