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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL)

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RELEASE: Bill to remove “Portorama clause” approved by Minn. House

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – On Wednesday, the Minnesota House approved HF 873, authored by Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL – Duluth) and Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth), a bill to remove sections of law that protect the use of the word “Portorama” by those other than the Duluth Jaycees. Under the current law, unauthorized use is a misdemeanor.

“Many in the community look back fondly on Portorama as a celebration of Duluth and the port, but a half-century later there’s no reason for a law prohibiting the use of the word to remain on the books,” said Rep. Schultz. “Whether or not anyone plans to revive the festival in the future, it makes sense for us to remove obsolete language like this from statutes.”

“Portorama” was a major annual community festival held in Duluth many decades ago sponsored by the Duluth Jaycees celebrating the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. In 1967, the Legislature enacted a law protecting use of the festival’s name. The festival has not been held since 1969 and the Duluth Jaycees dissolved several decades ago. The Duluth Chamber of Commerce and Visit Duluth have indicated no plans to operate the festival.

The bill doesn’t waive or modify any federal intellectual property rights to the word.

In the Senate, their version of the legislation is awaiting action on the Senate floor.