ST. PAUL – State Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, and other members of the 88th Legislature returned to the Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 25, to commence the 2014 legislative session.
Howe is in the second year of his first term. His House committee assignments remain: civil law; early childhood and youth development policy; state government finance and veterans affairs; and transportation finance.
“It will be interesting to see which path we take between now and when we are scheduled to adjourn in late May,” Howe said. “This has been portrayed as an ‘Unsession,’ where we eliminate wasteful, ineffective, outdated or burdensome government. On the other hand, we are coming off a 2013 session where we saw historic spending increases and around $2.5 billion more in taxes and fees to pay for government growth.”
Jim Pehler, former Minnesota Senator, has endorsed Joe Perske, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives District 6, the seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann.
In endorsing Perske, who is currently mayor of Sartell, Pehler commented, “I am endorsing Joe because he has been an elected official of a mid-sized city. He has close ties in the Central Minnesota area which has given him an understanding of the needs of average working men and women. Joe has a very common-sense approach to solving problems and he knows how to work well with many different groups of people.”
Pehler of St. Cloud served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1973 to 1981 and in the Minnesota Senate from 1981 to 1991.
Proposed legislation could provide cities and residents with some relief from high street costs
Street improvement bill would allow for funding of projects by paying small fees over time.
A bipartisan legislative bill that allows cities to collect fees from property owners to fund municipal street maintenance, construction, and reconstruction is expected to get further consideration when the Minnesota State Legislature convenes for the 2014 Legislative Session.
Street improvement district legislation, supported by the League of Minnesota Cities as well as several other municipal associations, was introduced in 2013 as Senate File (SF) 607 and House File (HF) 745 and would allow property owners to fund expensive street projects by paying relatively small fees over time.
Last week, the City of Eden Valley met in an emergency session to discuss freezing water lines in the city. The City of Watkins met Monday night, Feb. 24, and the City of Kimball will meet Thursday night, Feb. 27, in emergency session to discuss the growing problem.
The Watkins council approved adjusting water bills for those running water to prevent a freeze-up IF they first contact the city.
The City of Eden Valley agreed to make similar adjustments at last week’s meeting.
The City of Kimball will meet Thursday night this week; it is possible they may make a similar decision then.
Because of this year’s especially deep frost, water and sewer lines around the region are freezing. The coming extra-cold days will not help the situation which could last for weeks or even months longer.
6500 households in Stearns County asked to participate in free well Nitrate Sampling
Clean groundwater is vital to the state of Minnesota. Groundwater supplies drinking water to about 75 percent of all Minnesotans and almost all of the water used to irrigate the state’s crops. The quality of groundwater is an important issue for every well owner. Nitrate is one of the most common ground water contaminants found in rural areas. Drinking water with high nitrate concentrations can cause serious health effects in infants and the presence of nitrate may be an indicator of other contaminants in water.
Well water in 14 townships in Stearns County may be at risk for nitrate contamination because of the type of geology and depth to groundwater in the area. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) would like to offer you a free nitrate sample kit for your well water. You can be part of an effort to characterize nitrate conditions by participating in the nitrate monitoring event. This sampling event is designed specifically to look at private well nitrate concentrations in the vulnerable townships.