Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 Bills That Will Be Back in 2010

These are bills I introduced in 2009 that I would likely bring up again in 2010. You can look up the text of the bills at the House web site.

HF170: This bill would require publishers of telephone directories to allow consumers to opt out of delivery. I asked for an informational hearing only since I want to spend most of my legislative time helping to create jobs or address the deficit. The Yellow Pages Association and R.H. Donnelly testified about the bill and demonstrated Dex's opt out web site. You can hear audio of the hearing on-line. This hearing concluded my work on this issue for the year. KARE-11 did a web article on the bill on the KARE website. This bill was my own initiative. The 2010 version of this bill would likely just remove the state’s requirement that phone book publishers must distribute a White Pages.

HF298: This bill would remove some regulatory barriers for day training & habilitation (DT&H) organizations to serve more people with their bus and van fleets. Nonprofits in our area that pick up and drop off adults with developmental disabilities are interested in transporting other clients from other organizations to be more efficient, but their insurance rates would go way up, making the venture prohibitive. I don't have a Senate author, and after talking to a senator about it, I chose to invest time in HF1372 instead because it was a more wide-ranging initiative. This bill was initiated by Merrick Inc. and other DT&H providers.

HF336: This bill would allow homeowners associations to inform their residents about pesticide applications up to 48 hours in advance using newsletters, e-mail, etc. in lieu of sticking up those little signs after the application. This bill was initiated by a constituent with sensitivity to lawn chemicals. I didn't get a Senate author for this bill this year but would plan to proceed with this in 2010.

HF418: This bill would allow local governments to enact their own tougher ordinances to combat the spread of buckthorn. The bill received a hearing in the Agriculture Policy Committee and passed, and then was held up in the local government committee due to lack of time. This bill was initiated by a North Oaks resident, and I would like to proceed with it in 2010.

HF457: This bill would allow Minnesotans to donate their remains after death to an organization accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks instead of just to a university. This bill ran into opposition to a consortium of mortuary science stakeholders (seriously) that had worked on some reforms in this sector several years ago. I was under the impression that some other reforms would be forthcoming from another member this year and I could incorporate this legislation into that bigger bill, but the legislation did not materialize this year. I plan to pursue this issue in 2010. This bill was initiated by a constituent.

HF500: This bill would create standards for recycled water so that builders, plumbers, and others would have some guidance from the state when they are creating greywater systems that use treated wastewater. The dialogue among stakeholders was late in coming during the session so I did not proceed with this bill by the committee deadline in March. I hope to work on this in 2010. The bill was initiated by Sen. Jungbauer.

HF1118: This bill would change the allocation formula for revenue from the Solid Waste Management Tax (SWMT). The SWMT is collected on your waste hauler bill and up to 70% of it goes to the state's environmental fund to pay for cleaning up old landfills, recycling programs, etc. The bill would set an allocation formula for county funding. The bill received a hearing in the House Taxes Committee and was referred to the Environmental Finance Committee for consideration in 2010. The bill was originally authored by Rep. Demmer, who didn't have time to work on it. The bill was initiated by the Association of Minnesota Counties.

HF1217: This is a bill to set up a product stewardship program for unused pharmaceutical products to keep them out of our wastewater and drinking water and to keep them out of the hands of kids. Old medications often get flushed down the toilet and the chemical compounds do not break down in the wastewater treatment process. Many of these compounds are endocrine disruptors, meaning that they can change the DNA of fish and other aquatic life. They can also end up in our drinking water when it comes from a source where treated wastewater feeds into that source, like the Mississippi River. The bill would have the drug industry fund a secure "take-back" system at pharmacies. This is a pretty complicated bill so I introduced it this year so that stakeholders and I can discuss it during the interim and then I can modify it in 2010. This bill was my own initiative.

HF1286: This bill would give free fish and game license eligibility for disabled veterans. This bill was heard in the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee and was referred to the main Agriculture & Veterans' Affairs Committee but it was too late in the session to get through. This bill was initiated by a constituent.

HF1372/SF1323: This bill would require that retailers of more than 90 syringes in a carton must provide a "sharps" collection container for the consumer to store used syringes. Used syringes are one of the biggest safety hazards to waste haulers and other maintenance people. After passing the Senate easily and after passing the House Environment Committee on a voice vote, I was contacted by a national organization working on the issue and they asked for a delay in a floor vote on the bill in order to make some necessary changes. I will be working on this bill during the interim and will present some changes in 2010. This bill was initiated by a Minnesota vendor of collection containers.

HF2182: This bill would require the Department of Finance to request more information from state and local government agencies when they submit bonding requests for capital investment projects. This relates to the annual "bonding bill." I was interested in seeing more objective information when public entities want state funding so legislators can compare projects more clearly. The bill was introduced too late to be heard in the Capital Investment Committee, but the chair was interested in having an informational hearing. This bill was my own initiative.

HF2402: This bill would increase the fee charged by auto shops for unreturned used auto batteries from $5 to $10. Right now battery manufacturers are charging $10 to auto shops that do not exchange a used battery for a new battery, instead of the $5 they used to charge. State law requires that auto shops charge $5 to consumers when they don't return a used battery, so the auto shops are $5 short when this happens. Obviously consumers who bring in an old battery when they buy a new one get a total refund of $5. The bill was introduced too late to get a hearing but it will come forward in 2010. The bill was initiated by the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of MN, Inc.

HF2407: This bill is a sweeping product stewardship initiative to keep hazardous or valuable waste materials out of the garbage. It would create a process by which the MPCA would suggest products that would require special attention. This was introduced on the last day of the session so that I could get feedback from industry and government before requesting a hearing in February. This bill was my own initiative.