Rep Denny McNamara Capitol Update: REAL ID, vegetative buffers, and Red Rock Corridor Transitway

Representative Denny McNamara

Representative Denny McNamara

By Rep. Denny McNamara, 04/26/2016

Hello from the State Capitol,

Recently, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved legislation that would allow Minnesota to prepare for the implementation of REAL ID, which is necessary in order to allow residents to enter federal buildings and board a commercial airplane beginning in 2018.

Currently, Minnesota’s drivers’ licenses do not comply with the Federal REAL ID Act. Feeling it was an invasion of privacy, Minnesota had previously approved a law barring Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety from even discussing REAL ID compliance with Homeland Security. The measure approved by the House recently would eliminate that ban and allow that process to begin.

Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety recently issued a report on REAL ID, estimating that the cost of implementation before the October 1, 2016 target date ranges from $4.3 million to $5.1 million to cover training, updating technology, and other miscellaneous program costs. Minnesota’s Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) has approximately $12 million available in the DVS Operating Accounts, which I believe can be used to cover these REAL ID expenses.

If that’s the case, no additional taxpayer dollars would be needed to make REAL ID happen in Minnesota, and I’m pleased we’re moving forward on this issue.

We have also provided more clarity to landowners, operators, and government officials regarding Minnesota’s vegetative buffer requirements. This new proposal clarifies last session’s buffer law, which was necessary after the Governor’s Office misinterpreted the language and attempted to incorporate private ditches into last year’s requirements.

Under an agreement reached by the House, Senate, and Governor Dayton last year, by November of 2017, buffers with an average of 50 feet with a 30 foot minimum must be in place for lands adjacent to public waters. By November of 2018, buffers of 16.5 feet must be installed on all public ditches.

Among other things, the clarifications include what is in the public water inventory and what constitutes a public ditch, and it ensures fair compensation for landowners by compensating for buffers based on property values prior to buffer installation. The goal of the legislation is to improve water quality throughout Minnesota.

To watch my comments from the House floor on the buffer clarification bill, please click here.

My Red Rock Corridor Transitway legislation was also heard in our House Transportation Committee recently and has been forwarded to the House Capital Investment Committee for further consideration. This proposal would dedicate $1 million in bonding proceeds to create a commuter bus line from Hastings to St. Paul. I will keep you updated on the status of this proposal as it moves ahead.

Keep in touch,

Representative Denny McNamara
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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