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

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Legislative Update (4-17-15)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

It was a busy week at the legislature as committee omnibus bills began to move out of committees.

House Passes Emergency Funds to Assist in Avian Flu Outbreak

The Minnesota House of Representatives declared an urgency, suspending the rules Thursday to take up legislation providing emergency funds to the Department of Agriculture and Board of Animal Health in order to better prevent and respond to the avian influenza outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks. The House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of this measure.

I am grateful that my colleagues in the House voted to suspend the rules in order to address the avian flu crisis that is spreading across southwest Minnesota. These funds will go directly towards the effort to contain this outbreak.

Drake’s Law Included in Public Safety Omnibus Bill

A bill that I authored that will help strengthen our state’s drunk driving conviction laws by increasing the maximum sentence for criminal vehicular homicide occurring within 10 years of a previous qualifying offense, has been included in the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee’s omnibus bill.

This bill is also known as Drake’s Law in honor of Drake Bigler, the five month old son of Brad and Heather Bigler, who was tragically killed in a drunk driving accident in 2012.

I am grateful for Chair Cornish’s commitment to this important provision and am hopeful that it will remain in the bill as it continues to make its way to the Governor’s desk to become law.

Solar Provision Included in Job Growth and Energy Omnibus Bill

I am chief author of a provision that has been included in this year’s Job Growth and Energy Affordability. House File 1745 would provide more local input into the siting of large solar projects and allow more separation between solar facilities and local residents.

This provision ensures that if a solar farm or project is being built, the solar facilities will need to be at least 400 feet away from the nearest home. There has been a lot of concern regarding property values of homes that are near solar farms and facilities as they have become increasingly popular.

Thank you to Chair Garofalo for including this provision in his committee’s omnibus bill.

Series of Pro Second Amendment Bills Pass House

A number of pro 2nd Amendment bills were heard and passed by the House on Thursday afternoon. Here is a rundown of the bills that were passed:


  • HF 372- notice of possession of firearms at the Capitol complex requirement amended


  • HF 830- clarifies that long guns can be purchased from and sold to persons in other states


  • HF 1434- legalizes the use of firearm suppressors that are lawfully possessed under federal law.


  • HF 722- clarifies the authority of a public official or entity to seize or regulate weapons during a state of emergency.
As a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, I was happy to vote in favor of these bills.

Staying Connected

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I welcome the opportunity to speak with about your ideas on how we can make state government work better. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5374 or via email at


Have a great weekend,