3/13/2014 3:18:00 PM Legislators carry bills with origin
in Chisago County
by DENISE MARTIN Many legislative items are moving through various committees in the House and Senate, in what was supposedly dubbed as being the “un-session” of 2014. A number of bills are backed by state lawmakers who represent Chisago County, and who have been requested to introduce measures specific to situations involving this area. One example, an anti-carpetbaggers law in Senate File 2357 and House File 2018. County Commissioner Mike Robinson generated some of the buzz behind a these two bills, which are designed to change candidate filing requirements.
Robinson was opposed in the last election by a candidate who was not an established resident in his district at the time. Robinson had broached the possibility of getting the Chisago County Board on-record supporting changes to the election filing law, but that was not successful. Robinson tells the Press he met with his state representative Brian Johnson, who agreed to pursue the idea. Sean Nienow carries the senate side of the measure. Robinson said he went to Rep. Johnson because Johnson’s district is where Robinson lives and where his County Board area is. (There are three state representatives with area of Chisago County. Brian Johnson is in the northern and west part. ) The election filing law is proposed to be changed to mandate that a “petition” be submitted to file; if you have a brief-span of residency where you seek office.
Candidates could be required to reside in their district where they are filing for candidate, for at least one month before the filing window opens; or six months back from the date of the election, under new wording. And, if they have not resided somewhere in Minnesota for at least a year prior to the election date for a state office they seek -- a petition could be required. According to the proposed new wording, any person not in compliance with the new residency timeframes, who wants to run for municipal office, would have to present a petition signed by five percent of the total voters in that seat’s last balloting. A county candidate or candidate for state office would need 500 signers to file. For Congress it would be 1,000 signatures from people living in that congressional district. Robinson explained that an established resident would have a connection to the community where he is running for office and is less apt to run a dirty campaign, or rely on hurtful, negative tactics, as he put it.
He noted an Association of Minnesota Counties policy committee also supported the petition requirements and this is listed as an AMC legislative priority under “election administration” stances. Other bills in the hopper for Chisago County include: ~ The Nicholas Spehar Memorial Highway designation for Highway 8. This state highway designation is in House File 2219 and Senate File 2035. Spehar was a Navy Seal, from Chisago City, who died while serving. ~ There’s also the county’s jail bonding request, supported by majority vote of the County Board. Chisago County is seeking an appropriation from state bond sale proceeds to help fund a proposed law enforcement center project. The appropriation bills are HF 2359 and SF 2040. ~ The North Branch Water & Light Commission membership bills are HF 2220 and SF 2036. This is legislation supported by the North Branch City Council asking for state authority to increase the municipal commission’s size from three to five members. ~ A bill SF 2416 and HF 2747 allowing the county to sell a tax forfeit parcel on the south side of Goose Creek to a private party. These are three lots in Starks Second Addition to Harris. The tax forfeit lands on public waters normally are offered to public entities like the DNR, cities, townships, etc.