In the House, we have committee deadlines where we need to have bills heard if they’re to move forward. The first deadline is coming up shortly, so we’re meeting evenings to hear more bills, and working to make sure we hit these important deadlines. Here's a quick update on some of the bills I've been working on that may interest our area.
As you know, reforming the IRRRB is one of my top priorities as a representative. This isn’t something I just started working on, but have been trying to do since my time as commissioner. Last year, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a report displaying a series of shortcomings in the IRRRB, as well as suggestions for reform.
Yesterday, I introduced a bill, HF1643, to begin the process of reforming the IRRRB. Senator Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, is chief-authoring the legislation in the Senate, SF1394.
The bill would retain the agency and its staff in the executive branch of government, but move the board into the legislative branch to eliminate the current problem of “dual office holding” which is prohibited in Minnesota’s constitution. Citizens from the Taconite Assistance Area would be added to the board to bring specific expertise and perspectives. Changes made in the bill are in line with last year’s Office of the Legislative Auditor suggested reforms of the IRRRB.
I’ve been working for some time with other members of the Iron Range delegation, as well as the governor’s office, to produce an IRRRB reform bill that we can get signed into law. HF1643 is the start of a larger conversation about what common-sense measures we can take to increase effectiveness of the agency while ensuring more accountability and transparency of the board. I know there’s still work to do, but I’m eager to hear from more Iron Range residents who know what’s best for the IRRRB moving forward.
This week our Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard HF1077, which I’m co-authoring, to allow licensed resorts to transport minnows from minnow dealers without a license. Current law requires a license for the process but this hurts resorts who are simply transporting their bait from one location to another, not out of a lake or river. This is a bipartisan, common sense bill to help resorts catering to our fishermen and women.
Harris Township Clerk, Cari Ann Alleman, stopped by my office. Harris is our largest township and Cari Ann is serving her first term as clerk.
Cass County Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk was in St. Paul advocating for regional libraries as he is a member of the Kitchigami Regional Library.
It was Private College Day on Wednesday. I had the chance to visit with Julianna French, a Grand Rapids resident who is attending St. Scholastica. Thanks for stopping by, Julianna!
As we wind up the week, it does look like our area is steering clear of the snowstorm!
Enjoy your weekend,