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BRAND NEWS with Rep. Jeff Brand

Friday, April 5, 2024

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Friends and neighbors,

Spring is on the horizon! While we eagerly wait for Mother Nature to send us spring flowers, we’re sowing the seeds of good governance and working to grow the middle class so that all Minnesotans can live full, prosperous lives.  

This week on BRAND NEWS: more on the state of our railways and what I’m doing in Saint Paul to make safety and operational improvements.  



This week, the two largest freight rail companies operating in Minnesota, BNSF and CPKC, informed the state they won’t pay a railway safety assessment, which was signed into law in 2023 to address deteriorating railway safety. Since 2020, Minnesota has seen a 72% increase in derailments, showing a dire need for safety improvements. The legislation I proposed this session would help address this by limiting train length, implementing wayside detectors, and more.  

We’ve all been there – stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for a two or three mile long train. But the consequences of these ridiculously long trains don’t stop at traffic congestion – Lots of trains regularly transport dangerous substances that could contaminate our environment in the event of an accident, so these bills will also help reduce the risk of environmental harm. 


Transportation Policy Bill

That’s not all we’re doing for railway safety. Yesterday, the Minnesota House passed the 2024 Transportation Policy Bill. Included in the package is legislation I authored to expedite railroad safety procedures in the event of an incident involving the discharge of oil or other hazardous substances. Currently, upon discovery of an incident, crews are required to notify the Fire Chief before contacting emergency services. This bill changes the requirement and allows contact to be made through the local 911 call center, shortening the window between the incident and response. 

In the face of an emergency, the first call should be for help. By making this reporting adjustment, we’ll safe precious moments, potentially stopping a disaster from getting worse. 


Grants for Wildlife Habitat Projects

Do you have a fish, game, or wildlife habitat project that could use a grant?  The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) is accepting applications for grants through the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Approximately $150 million will be available for both metro and statewide grants to aid Minnesota habitat restoration, protection and enhancement.  

 Since the Outdoor Heritage Fund’s creation in 2008, over 1.4 million acres of Minnesota forests, prairies and wetlands have been restored, protected and/or enhanced.  

Proposal requirements and terms of funding are outlined in the Call for Funding Request. To view details or learn more, visit: For answers to specific questions, contact LSOHC Staff at Requests are due to the LSOHC Friday, May 24, 2024. The funds for approved programs signed into law during the 2025 legislative session will be available Monday, July 1, 2025. 


Go Mavs!

Congratulations to the Minnesota State University, Mankato Women's & Men's Basketball teams as they both come back with NCAA Division II National Championship trophies!  

We are so proud of you all, especially here in the Greater Mankato area! 

Go Mavs! 



Take my Legislative Survey

Time is running out! Take my legislative survey to make your voice heard. Submissions are open now through May 1, 2024.   


Leg survey temp


Stay in Touch 

As always, I want to hear from you. Get in touch by calling 651-296-8634 to reach me, or email Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the latest.  

Stay warm out there.  


In solidarity,  

Representative Jeff Brand 

Minnesota House of Representatives 

State Representative Jeff Brand

501 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

Phone: 651-296-8634
Email: (replies to this newsletter are not monitored)
Facebook: Representative Jeff Brand
Legislative Assistant: Faith Privett, 651-297-8145