At the capital we are busy working bills through the committee process. HF 1937 which would allow Aitkin County to create a consolidated Unorganized Township Road and Bridge account was heard in the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee this week.
County Administrator Jessica Seibert and Commissioner Bill Pratt joined me in presenting the bill which reduces administrative red tape and better supports long range planning and maintenance by consolidating the current 13 accounts into a single Unorganized Township Road and Bridge fund. The bill is now on the General Register awaiting eventual consideration by the full House.
Senator Ruud and I met with Gov. Tim Walz this week. Top of the list was informing the Governor we did not appreciate his administration’s change in policy that restricts youth ages 16-17 from working at the Paul Bunyan Land children’s amusement park during the summer months.
During the 2018 summer Paul Bunyan Land employed 13 adolescents. He was unaware that the MN Department of Labor and Industry had turned down all the waiver requests for Paul Bunyan Land to employ 16-17-year olds for the 2019 summer.
I have reviewed the Department of Labor’s history in this area. Throughout the previous governor’s tenure, the department allowed 16- and 17-year olds to work at the park, provided the parents and the park owners jointly requested a waiver to allow that child to work there.
I reminded the governor this is a children’s amusement park with an excellent safety record which provides a wonderful opportunity for work experience for our area youth. He agreed to investigate the matter for us.
We finished the week with a lively floor debate on a gun control and red flag bill. Both bills passed and now are over in the senate where they will likely receive no further action. I, along with most of my rural colleagues in bipartisan opposition, could not support either of the bills.
The gun control bill would impose onerous new requirements on law abiding citizens for even temporarily loaning a firearm to a friend or neighbor. Failure to keep a written record of that transaction for 20 years would become a violation of law. The red flag law was no better. We have more work to do in this area, but these bills clearly missed the mark.