Legislative Update - March 10, 2023
In the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet with so many amazing members of our community here at the Capitol. Meeting with the city of Cottage Grove, our Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors, the Council of State Governments Midwest, our friends in labor at IBEW, and more! We have also had many awareness days, meeting with constituents on the needs of social workers, mental health support, hunger prevention, and homelessness prevention!
Restricting PFAS in Pesticides
Recent publications have found a concerning trend—PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” are being found in and spread through pesticides. My bill, part of the PFAS Prevention Package, would require the Department of Agriculture not to register a pesticide that contains PFAS chemicals. This is an important step in understanding how PFAS is traveling from our pesticides to our products, and to our bodies—and stopping it. You can watch my comments on the bill here or by clicking the image below.
The Agriculture Committee also heard my bill clarifying how we dispose of pesticide-treated seed. Currently, there is a lack of clarity in law where the Department of Agriculture’s authority over seed ends and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s jurisdiction over possible pollution begins. This is a bill I have been working on for multiple years and I am glad it is moving forward this session.
Environment Committee Update
As committee deadlines approach, we have been working hard in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which I chair, to hear legislation critical to protecting our environment. This week we took up legislation to help the DNR perform prescribed burning, and a bill to require better reporting of fish kills after concerning news reports of large fish kills as a result of pollutants in Minnesota lakes and streams.
We also took up my bipartisan bill to fund the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) reserve program. RIM works with farmers to use agricultural land for conservation purposes—increasing habitat, wildlife, and clean water benefits throughout the state. We can bring back $1.70 in federal funding for every dollar we spend on RIM.
This Thursday, our committee had a full agenda—hearing nine bills on important issues, including clean water, protecting our lowland conifer habitats, feedlots, and more. We heard legislation banning the use of PFAS in ski wax, better protecting our water and soil from being contaminated by these “forever chemicals.” The committee heard my proposal for a grant program to help cities with inflow and infiltration issues and my bill defining plastics in statute, which is critical in addressing the spread of microplastics.
Finally, we discussed my bill that would authorize the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to start addressing objectionable odors—something that our district deals with far too often. This bill provides protection to our community and others, requiring facilities to produce an odor management plan, especially those that may be harmful to human health. You can read more and watch the hearing here.
Stay in Touch
Please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback throughout the legislative session. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-6828. You can contact my legislative assistant Sam O'Neill at 651-296-3305 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.