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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

This week, I once again had the pleasure of being joined at a committee hearing with students from Owatonna's Willow Creek Middle School who support the creation of a plaque honoring those who constructed Minnesota's State Capitol.


You'll recall that last year's 6th grade students crafted a petition encouraging this proposal. Based on their idea, I wrote legislation creating a contest for 6th grade students from across the state to submit designs for the construction worker memorial plaque or marker.


Just under a month ago, several Willow Creek students who came up with the idea testified with me before the Minnesota House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee about their plan. On April 13, a new group of students traveled to St. Paul to make their pitch before the Minnesota House State Government Finance Committee.


Much like the first group, these boys and girls did an outstanding job in presenting their information. The bill now heads to the Minnesota House Rules Committee for further debate.


Also this week, the Minnesota House approved legislation that would make it legal to purchase and use firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other aerial fireworks in our state.


The Fireworks Freedom Act would allow aerial and audible devices to be sold and used from June 1 to July 10 each year. Only people above the age of 18 could make fireworks purchases. Local governments could charge an annual license fee to stores that want to sell fireworks and are able to prohibit them from being sold.


According to some studies, Minnesota loses roughly $5 million in sales tax revenue every year when people drive across the border to purchase fireworks.


The local control provision in this bill makes it different from previous proposals, as city officials can decide whether or not they want fireworks in their community. The bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate.