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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Matt Grossell (R)

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Buffer Law Compromise Urged & House Passing Budget Bills

Monday, May 15, 2017


I hope you had a great Mother's Day and Fishing Opener weekend. I'm not sure I can ever recall more beautiful weather this time of year. Down in St. Paul, we are going to finish passing our budget bills today. While the Governor has been unwilling to negotiate and vowed to veto all of our compromise bills that will have passed both the House and Senate, putting these bills in front of him is an important step in the negotiation process. Read about our taxes bill below along with an update on farmers and local officials asking the Governor to compromise on his onerous buffer law. Have a great week and I'll keep you informed on budget negotiations as they progress.

Tax Relief & Reform Bill Re-Passes House

Tax relief for hardworking Minnesotans has been a top priority of mine this session and with this bill we accomplish just that. The bill targets relief at middle-class Minnesotans by beginning to phase out taxes paid on social security income,  reducing the burden placed on farmers and land owners for school bond referendums, and providing relief to main street businesses by providing property tax relief. This is a good bill for Minnesotans and I urge the governor to sign it.

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Ag Groups & Local Officials Letter on Buffers

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The bipartisan group of lawmakers and wide array of farm and agriculture groups calling for changes in the current buffer rules set to go into effect this year should send a clear signal to the governor that this law needs major changes. Everyone wants clean waters but the buffer law as currently constructed is causing confusion among local units of government, land owners, and farmers. Hopefully Governor Dayton will listen to the calls to delay implementation of the buffer law and revise it to protect our waterways while not placing an undue burden on local officials and landowners in Greater Minnesota.

Last Thursday, a long list of county commissioners and agriculture groups including the Minnesota Farmers Union, the Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and many others sent a letter to Governor Dayton and legislative leaders urging them to find a workable compromise citing the challenges facing farmers to meet existing implementation dates. If a compromise cannot be found on changes to the law, the groups requested at the very least that Governor Dayton delay implementation to give landowners and local governments more time to comply with buffer mandates. The letter can be found by clicking here.

The Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee report sent to the governor on Monday includes changes to the buffer law including:

  • Moving implementation dates to November 2019 for public waters, and 2020 for public drainage systems, to give farmers additional time to comply with requirements
  • Clarifying that all public ditches are subject to the long-standing 16.5 foot buffer requirement -- the original intent of the legislature.
  • Preventing buffer laws from being enforced on farmers unless federal or state cost-share dollars are available to cover 100% of the cost associated with installing the buffer to ensure it does not act as an unfunded mandate.

MN Dept of Education Questionable Use of Resources 

This week, I signed a letter to education commissioner Brenda Cassellius expressing my opposition to the Minnesota Department of Education’s planned distribution of their “Toolkit” resource for dealing with gender identity issues in schools. Personally, I believe that the Department’s resources would best serve Minnesota’s children in other areas, instead of advancing a progressive social agenda. To me, those discussions regarding gender identity should be left to parents.

If you believe State resources should be focused on ensuring all of our kids, regardless of background, receive the best education possible, and not in promoting a controversial and progressive social agenda, contact the commissioner at and share your concerns. 

Please continue to stay in touch to share your thoughts or concerns. My phone number is 651-296-4265 or you can email me at

Have a great week,