We passed some important bipartisan legislation on Thursday in the House, including overwhelming support (125-2) for a bill I authored to allow smaller Minnesota counties – such as Aitkin – to continue to participate in the state's Community Correction Act (CCA) program.
My legislation allows Aitkin County to continue to operate our probation services as a standalone CCA county. You can view a brief clip of me discussing the bill on the House floor at this link. Additionally, click here for more details on why my bill was necessary.
The House also passed legislation clarifying the authority and responsibilities for landowners, state agencies and local units of government on Minnesota's new buffer law. This law went into effect last year. However, we soon discovered we needed to more clearly define the limits of authority for state agencies with respect to private property.
The bill includes plain language indicating that private ditches on private property were not part of the 2015 buffer related legislation. State agencies had begun mapping for regulatory purposes private ditches last fall. That was not the intent of the 2015 legislation. After discussion with Governor Dayton early this year, he directed state agencies to stop that practice. This year’s clarifying language simply codifies that element of the law.
Other revisions included reinforcing that jurisdiction over this law lies with local units of government, clarifying when the state Board of Water and Soil Resources would become involved on ditch buffer issues, eliminates any change to the current measurement protocol for ditch buffers and reinforces that the DNR's only role will be to conduct mapping.
Landowners and operators are urged to double check the DNR's maps when they become available in their county to ensure that any mistakes are quickly corrected.
We continue to work on an economic aid package for the Mille Lacs Lake area to assist businesses during the current economic downturn and increase the resources for marketing the wide variety of first class recreational opportunities that Mille Lacs Lake continues to provide.
Finalizing long term transportation funding, tax reform and a bonding bill remain the big items to complete before we reach mandatory adjournment on May 23.