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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Brian Johnson (R)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Johnson’s Wildfire Arson Bill Clears Minnesota House with Bipartisan Support

St. Paul – HF228, sponsored by Chief Author Representative Brian Johnson (R-Cambridge), was passed today by the Minnesota House with overwhelming support. The bill increases the felony penalty for those that intentionally set wildfires through potential imprisonment, heavy fines or restitution payments. After requests from prosecutors around the state, the legislation aims to bring accountability to those that intentionally cause severe damage to land and property through arson. In 2009, a Forest Lake arsonist set fire to the Carlos Avery Wildlife Refuge, burning 2,500 acres of refuge and threatening 150 homes. Because of current law, the Judge was only allowed to sentence the man to probation.

“I am proud to move HF228 forward with the help of my House colleagues in both parties, it is a necessary tool for our legal system to bring justice to these unfortunate situations,” Johnson said. “Those that willfully set wildfires need to be held accountable for their actions and the damages they cause and existing law must be changed so that the punishment truly fits the crime.”

HF228 will go on to meet its Senate counterpart and potentially move to Governor Dayton for his signature. Johnson’s bill is supported by the Minnesota County Attorneys Association and the Minnesota Fire Departments Association. Johnson is a member of the House Public Safety Committee.

Johnson can be reached by phone at (651) 296-4346. He can also be contacted via e-mail at, or via U.S. Mail at 233 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.