The Line: The Line’s Worst Bill Ever

This week on the Line

Molly Pederson, Government Affairs Director

We begin this week with an UPDATE on last week’s bad permitting bill, SF1567/HF2095 Environmental permits efficiency; environmental review modifications. The bill was amended, and that paid permit professional (PPP) a corporation can hire so its permit is automatically approved…that person will now be called a permit applicant professional (PAP). You think a woman came up with that? Me either.

Worst. Bill. EVER.

Apparently, nine of you want to spend the 2013 Legislative Session debating the definition of gelatin. There’s no other way to explain why SF1922/HF2169 State agency rules review and reporting methods provisions modifications is on the move, up in both the House and Senate this week.

At first glance, the bill looks like it’s just adding some additional rule reporting requirements for agencies. But if you read all the way to the end (and that’s where the good stuff is) the bill requires Governor Dayton and the Legislature to take an exhaustive look at the thousands of rules currently guiding the DNR, PCA, EQB, BWSR, and the Department of Ag. …and then it goes ahead and repeals them all effective August 1, 2013. Well, in fairness, they get to stay on the books if you pass laws before the sunset date to keep them, but considering you’re only here a few months out of the year, that will leave you with little time for anything else.

The exhaustive look…it includes requiring that agencies tell you everything from how much the rule costs individuals, businesses, cities and counties, how the rule compares to federal guidelines and other states, and how the agency “justifies” the rule. Before you jump at thinking this is a good idea, keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of the rules are pretty darn ordinary and nonthreatening. I should know, I spent all weekend reading through them!

This bill serves only to cripple agencies and generate tedious reports that nobody will ever read. Which means you should vote “yes” only if:

  • You’ve been wondering how the other 49 states incubate their eggs.
  • You think it’s important to know how much it costs local governments if a “dressed fish” also includes its entrails.
  • You’re dying to know how big the federal government wants northern leopard frogs to be if used for bait. You believe the Department of Ag needs to justify its definition of ricotta cheese.
  • You’re not running for reelection and don’t care if your colleagues spend a good chunk of next year deciding if the DNR’s prairie chicken hunting lottery guidelines are comprehensive enough.
  • You aren’t sure if the PCA is using the right analytical procedures for determining constituents in sewage sludge samples.
  • You don’t agree that the state’s definition of “loaf” still adequately describes food in loaf shape, and you think it’s high time to revisit the issue.
  • Your stomach is up for a lively debate about how rabbit slaughterhouses dispose of carcasses.

Caught at the Capitol this week

SF1922/HF2169 State agency rules review and reporting methods provisions modifications is up in two committees, the Senate State Government Innovation Committee on Monday, and the House Government Operations Committee on Tuesday. Ole says: Toss it back!

H.F. 2190 Hydropower sources that may satisfy the renewable energy standard size limitation eliminated which basically means the end of the Renewable Energy Standard is up in the House Energy Subcommittee on Monday. Ole says: Toss it back!

SF1567 Environmental permits efficiency; environmental review modifications which allows corporations to buy the approval of their permits is up in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. Ole says: Toss it back!

H.F. 389 Local government interim zoning planning ordinances and municipal development contracts provisions which weakens community and township rights is up in the House Government Operations Committee on Wednesday. Ole says: Toss it back!

What is the Line? It’s Conservation Minnesota’s light, 100% Minnesotan look at conservation happenings at the Capitol as seen by me, a lobbyist who actually doesn’t go outside very much. Please don’t confuse the Line with the always enjoyable musings of the other, taller half of Conservation Minnesota’s government affairs team, John Tuma. You can (and should!) check out his blog here.

Questions about anything in the Line? Contact Molly.

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About Molly Pederson

Molly brings expertise in communications and organization to us. She draws on her breadth of experience in the political, nonprofit and private sector realms to build broad support for issues. She’s a veteran of local and state campaigns Molly is an avid reader and has undertaken writing her own novel. Her interest in clean water and open spaces is a personal one as she enjoys sailing and cross-country skiing.
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