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Legislative update (11-2-17)

Thursday, November 2, 2017


The cold, wet weather we have seen of late has caused concern that we could see a shortage of propane access this fall. Fortunately, action was taken this week in an attempt to keep supplies moving to meet the demand for home heating and crop drying this fall.

House Republicans sent a letter to the governor on Wednesday, asking him to issue an executive order temporarily waiving hours of service regulations for haulers of propane and anhydrous ammonia. The governor did issue Emergency Executive Order 17-11 Wednesday evening, easing regulations on hours of service “for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in emergency relief efforts.”

A similar executive order was issued in 2013, when late-maturing crops and a number of other factors created a bottleneck in the propane supply chain. The propane situation today does not seem to be as bad as it was in 2013, but some of the same conditions do exist. The point of asking for the executive order at this time was to try to avoid repeating history and reduce headaches down the road.

The executive order is for 30 days, or “until the commercial motor carrier or drivers ceases direct assistance in providing energy relief, whichever occurs first,” and may be extended in the future if necessary.

On a different subject, legislation we passed into law earlier this year is designed to make it easier for farmers and other people in the ag. industry to buy better health coverage. A new 40 Square health care cooperative program for the ag sector will make six health plans available to ag. workers.

Co-op participants can obtain health plans that are self-funded through a member-owned, member-run system. This is will provide good transparency and give Minnesota farm families more control.

The 40 Square website has more details. Be aware there is a Dec. 15 deadline to get signed up.



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