We are back at work in St. Paul following our brief break for Easter and Passover. It was great to be back in our community meeting with folks and visiting schools and speaking with Vietnam Veterans.
Back at the Capitol this week I presented a number of my bills to crack down on criminal sexual conduct and child pornography in the Public Safety Committee this week. They were held over and will be considered as we continue to put together a public safety proposal this session.
Rep. Grossell with Vietnam Veterans at a Vietnam Veteran Recognition Day Event at the end of March
Buffer Law Comment Period
This week, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) introduced a proposed Administrative Penalty Order (APO) last week that would fine farmers out of compliance with Minnesota's riparian buffer law by up to $500 per linear foot, which could result in thousands of dollars in fines annually for farmers who are even a few feet out of compliance across their entire property.
The Dayton Administration is putting the wishes of their radical environmental supporters over the needs of Minnesota's farmers. Instead of working with our agricultural community, they decided to move forward with these excessive penalties. There is a short public comment period on these proposed penalties, and I would highly encourage folks to let BWSR and the Dayton Administration know this proposal is overkill and simply unacceptable. We all share the goal of clean waters and protecting our environment, but once again state agencies are going too far, doing far more harm than good.
The public comment period lasts until 4:30 PM on Monday, April 16, 2018, and comments can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by U.S. Mail at the following address:
Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor
Board of Soil and Water Resources
3555 9th Street NW, Suite 350
Rochester, MN 55901
Following an outcry from farmers and legislators on their behalf, Governor Dayton himself has begun to cast doubt on the implementation of this proposed version of the rule. I will keep you up to date on this important issue for many in our community.
School Safety Package
Before we took a break for Easter & Passover, we unveiled a legislative package aimed at putting student safety first. We have taken a multifaceted approach that includes more resources to meet the needs of students and schools statewide which includes everything from hiring more school resource officers, student counselors and mental health professionals to making critical building security upgrades.
We have listened to school officials, teachers, students, and parents in our local communities to bring forward this comprehensive approach to making our students safer. The following solutions, authored by numerous House members, are currently advancing through the public committee process:
School resource officers, student support personnel, and other school security programs funded through increased Safe Schools revenue, including a floor level of funding for small schools authored by Reps. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing and Anna Wills, R-Rosemount.
School building security upgrades, and expanded use of Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue for security projects, including emergency communications systems authored by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie.
School-linked mental health programming to ensure better outcomes for all kids authored by Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley.
Physical security audit grants to provide state assistance to review facility security and crisis management policies authored by Reps. Randy Jessup, R-Shoreview and Drew Christensen, R-Savage.
Suicide prevention training for teachers to help educators learn how to engage and assist students experiencing mental distress authored by Rep. Dario Anselmo, R-Edina.
School-based threat assessment teams established to assess, intervene, and report threats facing students, teachers, and staff authored by Rep. Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park.
Police Protection Legislation
Before we recessed for Easter & Passover, the House Public Safety Committee heard the Police Protection Legislation by Public Safety Chair Brian Johnson and myself. Chair Johnson’s bill (HF3610) would increase the penalty for assaulting a police officer and my bill (HF4082) bill would prevent police disarmament by local agencies.
As a former law enforcement officer, I know how they put their lives on the line every day in service to the public. Every day there are situations that go from non-threatening and escalate to life-threatening. For the safety of the officer and the public, the idea of local politicians disarming police is dangerous. My bill is about keeping our police officers and the public they serve safe.
My bill will prevent a mayor, city council, county board, or chief law enforcement officer from disarming a peace officer who is in good standing and not currently under investigation or subject to disciplinary action. As many of you know, I was shot in the line of duty while responding to a minor disturbance call. I authored this bill in response to calls from local politicians proposing to disarm police. Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) is the author of the Senate companion to my bill.
Have a great weekend!