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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Poston (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Poston

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Passage of House File 1:

On Thursday, the House passed House File 1: the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill on a bipartisan vote of 73-54. We are now one step closer to getting people the premium relief they need. I look forward to this bill going to conference committee with the Senate next week and I am hopeful for the Governor’s signature.

To review, some highlights of this bill include:

  • 25% premium reduction for those Minnesotans who earn between $35,640 & $95,040 and families of four who earn between $72,900 & $194,400
  • Allows for patients with serious illnesses or those receiving end-of-life care to continue seeing their doctor
  • Increases affordable options through timely reforms that stand independent of impending federal action

Social Security Tax:

I co-authored a bill that would begin to phase-out the tax on social security benefits, House File 213. Minnesota is 1 of only 6 states that fully taxes social security. I think this is wrong; we, as a state, want to encourage our seniors to stay in Minnesota and continue to be active in the community and the local economy. This bill was heard in Taxes Committee this week and seemed to garner a lot of support. I will continue to be an advocate for not only this bill, but our seniors in general.

Buffers Update:

The buffer laws that were passed last session have been shown to not be ready for primetime. There are many discrepancies within the language of the law that need to be reexamined. For example, the qualifications for what is classified as a body of water is not clear and needs to be reworked; the “one size fits all” approach is not practical when regulating buffers. I, along with the Agriculture Committees, will work to enact reforms to actually make this policy workable for farmers and landowners.

Ditch Mowing Rulemaking by MnDOT:

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has completely overstepped its authority and its rulemaking abilities.

MnDOT has announced a new permit policy for mowing and bailing hay in road ditches. They are requiring landowners, who want to mow in the right-of-way adjacent to their property, to apply for a permit before the end of the month. Additionally, if a property owner decides to not apply for a permit, then someone else can apply starting February 1st. This is wrong and it infringes on people’s property rights.

According to state law, road ditches cannot be cut or baled before August 1st to maintain wildlife nesting and bee habitats, however, that law has not been regularly enforced. Many have been mowing and baling hay in the right-of-way in early July when the grass still has some value as livestock feed and not totally dried out. This practice will now have to change due to permits not being issued until August 1st.

These new policies are overreaching and need to be dealt with. I assure you that I will be advocating to make commonsense changes to them.

Rural Caucus:

This week, I joined the Joint Rural Caucus of the House and Senate. I look forward to meeting with my fellow rural legislators on a regular basis to discuss and find solutions to the issues facing rural Minnesota.

Civil Air Patrol:

On Tuesday, I met with members of the Civil Air Patrol. I learned a lot about their organization and the good work they do for Minnesotans. I encourage you to learn more about them here and here

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If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-4293, or