Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

Back to profile

Legislative Update from Rep. Josh Heintzeman

Friday, February 23, 2018

Dear Friends,

The 2018 legislative session began on Tuesday and I am looking forward to another year working for you and your family in St. Paul. Serving our community is a great responsibility and I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to represent the people of District 10A.

Generally speaking, the second year of a legislative biennium is shorter than the first and this year is no different. This is in large part due to the fact that the state’s two year budget is negotiated and agreed to in the first year of a biennium (last year). Thus, with the state budget already settled, lawmakers usually have more time to devote their energies towards policy-focused matters instead of the budget. On that note, I am looking forward to working on a few legislative initiatives this session that aim to improve the quality of life and safety in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

The first bill I will mention has become known as Macy's Law. Macy Kujava, a young mother from Nissw, was severely injured after a driver with a suspended license crossed into her lane and collided with her vehicle. The crash left her with a permanent severe brain injury and her young daughter was nearly killed. The legislation I am carrying would increase the criminal penalty from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor if a crash results in great bodily harm, and would also create a three strikes approach for drivers that continue to drive in spite of having a revoked or suspended license.

The second piece of legislation I plan on introducing this session works to improve water quality in the Brainerd Lakes Area—where aquatic invasive species, lake restoration, and the development of water-related recreation are crucial to our economy and way of life.

More specifically, I am looking at ways the state can better manage its narrow-leaf cattail population. Minnesota currently does not recognize the narrow-leaf cattail as an invasive species, however it is now nearly 10 times more prolific then the state’s native cattail. The narrow-leaf cattail often overtakes native cattails, upsetting the ecological balance by creating an environment that is inhospitable to other plants, animals and birds. Unfortunately, because the state doesn’t consider narrow-leaved cattails or their hybrid offspring invasive, individuals, lake associations, or watershed districts must obtain a DNR permit before any work can start. Officially acknowledging this plant as invasive would drastically improve opportunities to revive habitat and restore the native plant species.

Finally, I am hoping to work on legislation that addresses the elder abuse taking place in some nursing homes around Minnesota. Last year, the Star Tribune conducted an investigative report that found hundreds of residents at elderly care facilities in all areas of the state are beaten, sexually abused or robbed every year. Sadly, even when reports were filed with the state, investigations often were not started.

I will fight hard this session to ensure that legislation is passed that increases transparency and accountability among elder care providers and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Beyond these legislative initiatives, I also expect federal tax conformity to be addressed this year as the state looks to conform our tax code to the changes made in Congress. I am also anticipating some sort of bonding bill to be discussed as well. If a bonding bill does happen this year, expect it to once again be heavily focused on infrastructure and transportation improvements. Finally, I hope that we will pass legislation this year that addresses the opioid epidemic sweeping across the state. Far too many lives have been destroyed by these powerful drugs. The time for action on this issue is now.

As always, I encourage you to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at

Have a great weekend,