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

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Legislative Update (4-22-16)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dear Neighbors,

On Thursday, the House approved legislation that clarifies last year’s controversial buffer bill. As many are aware, there have been issues regarding the implementation of this bill and the legislation passed on Thursday helps bring much needed clarity for farmers and property owners.

Some of the revisions from Thursday’s bill include:

  • Eliminating problematic "benefitted area" language, and identifying the most recent public water inventory and public ditches that are subjected to buffers.

  • Codifying the exemption for private ditches.

  • Shifting buffer jurisdiction from state to local agencies. Under the plan, counties and local watershed districts would have jurisdiction. If they decline, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) would gain authority.
  • Reinforcing that the DNR's only role will be to conduct mapping.
  • Eliminating any change from current statute regarding the measurement of ditch buffers.
  • Ensuring fair compensation for farmers by compensating for buffers based on property values prior to buffer installation

At the end of the day, Minnesotans care about having clean water and working to improve water quality. Farmers have always been good stewards of the land, and need clean water to ensure healthy crops. We need to partner with farmers in order to improve water quality across the state. Part of that process means making sure buffer laws are fair to farmers and ensures that they are fairly compensated for losing valuable acreage.

This bill will do a lot to help accomplish that goal.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a questions regarding this piece of legislation or any other matter before the legislature. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at

Have a great weekend,