With the 2014 legislative session not slated to start until late February, this week was designated for early committee work in St. Paul. Two of the committees I serve on, the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance, along with Housing, had meetings scheduled.
In the Ag. Finance Committee, we heard testimony from two University of Minnesota professors regarding weed resistance to the glyphosate family of chemicals, more commonly known as Round-Up. Farmers have long known that continued use of one particular family of chemicals can give rise to weed resistance, and we are seeing that happening. Changing crop rotations, and using chemicals with different modes of action can help alleviate the problem.
In the Housing committee, we heard testimony on a bill that would require mediation as part of the process when homes are being foreclosed. Minnesota already has a provision that allows counseling for those going through this difficult process, and we were told that nearly 50 percent of those who choose counseling are able to obtain loan modifications that enable them to stay in their homes.
Propane hotline opens
I sent a legislative update last week talking about a propane shortage that is causing widespread problems, including here in our area. Minnesota has joined other states in declaring a state of emergency and a hotline opened Thursday to help citizens. News reports indicate staff fielded more than 80 calls yesterday alone.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce can provide callers with information regarding Energy Assistance Programs, connect people with resources in their home county and more. Call the hotline at 1 (800) 657-3504 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or click here to access information online.
I hope you find this information helpful as we try to work through this issue. I will keep you posted as things develop.