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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Franson (1-23-15)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dear Neighbor,

It was another busy week at the Capitol as legislators continued our work on the issues that matter most to Minnesotans.

2015 March for Life

Yesterday was the annual March for Life. It is always such an honor to meet with constituents and citizens who take the time out of their busy lives to peacefully protest against our nation’s abortion laws. It is saddening to think that nearly 57 million have lost their lives since the Roe v. Wade decision. I am hopeful that people’s minds and hearts will continue to change as we remain committed to protecting the unborn.

Protecting Minnesota’s Water

Fighting the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) is one of the most important steps we take in protecting Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and other water resources. Starting in July of this year, a new boat trailer mandate will go into effect. This mandate requires anyone that is using a trailer to transport boats or water equipment—like docks or boat lifts—to enroll in an online AIS course and place a decal on their trailer to prove that they have completed the course. Each course lasts approximately 30 minutes and the DNR is still trying to determine how much the course will cost.

The Legislature has implemented various methods to combat AIS over the last several years. Many of these steps have been focused on increased funding for research of AIS as well as educational campaigns meant to inform the public on the dangers posed by AIS. While this new trailer decal program is meant to help in the effort to stop the spread of AIS, it has ended up posing more problems than solutions. Many boat owners, resorts, and lake associations have complained that the program will not have the desired impact and will prove to be too cumbersome for boaters, tourists, and repair shops to comply with the requirement. Even more frustrating is that revenue generated from the program’s user fees are going to be used to pay for the course software. This money should be used to reinvest real, tangible dollars in our lakes and rivers. A bipartisan bill to repeal this law has been introduced. My office and I will keep you up-to-date on any developments that may occur this session.

On a similar note, Governor Dayton recently announced his intention to propose legislation that will call for vegetative buffer zones, 50 to 60 feet wide, to border all waters in the state. The DNR would enforce and regulate the program. I have received interesting feedback thus far from our district on this proposal. I encourage you to contact my office to let me know your thoughts.

Nursing Home Administrators Testify

This past Wednesday, the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee held a hearing that took a look at the struggles rural nursing homes are facing. A number of nursing home administrators from around the state testified in front of our committee and shared stories of their struggles in paying workers and how low wages have led to a high turnover rate of quality staff.

Our seniors deserve the best care and I am glad that a priority this year will be ensuring that our nursing homes have the proper resources needed to care for our elderly. As session continues to progress, I am hopeful that we will be able to pass meaningful legislation that will allow our nursing homes to hire and retain the best care-givers for our elderly.

Staying Connected

There will be no constituent coffee this week as I will be involved in Sunday school training on Saturday morning. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at or by phone at 651-296-3201. Another great way to connect is through my Facebook page. You can “like” my page by clicking here.