MASWCD Conference Call

February 7, 2000

8:30 p.m.




Eli Mast

Bill Hollenbeck

Steve Hopper

Lloyd Gunter

Donald Jordan

Steve Huber

Henry Heinze

David Dix

Kerry Gose

Peggy Lemons


President Eli Mast opened the meeting at 8:30 p.m. to discuss the various bills filed in the current legislative session.

SB-723 sponsored by Senator Goode creates an Invasive Species Council charged with developing and implementing an invasive species management plan. A motion was made by Steve Hopper to remain neutral on this bill until such time the board can meet with Senator Goode to discuss the intent of the bill. This was seconded by Henry. Motion carried.

SB-812 sponsored by Senator Westfall creates a procedure for soil and water districts to use to obtain approval to sell agricultural related items. This bill was in last year's legislative session, was not passed out of committee. MASWCD opposed the bill at that time. A hearing was held on this bill earlier today in which Eli and Lloyd testified opposing the bill because this should be handled locally, legislation is not necessary. There was a general consensus of the board to continue to oppose this bill.

HB-1655 sponsored by Representative Wiggins makes the soil and water districts adivsors to the PL-566 watershed boards and puts decision making in the hands of the watershed board. This bill was also in last year's legislative session and did not make it out of committee. MASWCD supported the bill last year. Problems encountered dealt with the eminent domain section. The Watershed Association supports this bill. There was a general consensus of the board to continue to support this bill. There is a need to get more legislators to sign on as supporters of the bill.

SB-558 sponsored by Senator Howard will change the law to allow the chair of the Commission to vote at all times, gives the Commission the ability to create programs according to the character of the district, and makes MDC an ex-officio member of the Commission. This bill has been in the legislative session for the past 3 years. In the beginning MASWCD opposed the bill, however, since that time MASWCD has worked with D. K. Hirner and Senator to reword parts of the bill to make it agreeable to all. The Commission has voted in support of this bill as it now reads. This bill was voted out of committee earlier today and will next be heard by the full House. There was a general consensus of the board to continue to support this bill.

HB-1811 sponsored by Representative Ridgeway creates state enabling legislation for farmland preservation. Eli indicated he had met with Representative Ridgeway earlier this morning. The full purpose of the bill was not included in the discussion on the resolution at Tan-Tar-A. The board decided to oppose the bill at this point until they had a chance to meet with her and discuss the intent of the bill.

The budget expansion request for benefits for district employees was not included in the Governor's recommended budget. Right now it is up to the House Appropriations Committee, they are scheduled to mark-up the DNR budget on Wednesday. The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to start working on the DNR budget next Monday. Eli discussed the possibility of having Roy Pittrich testify for MASWCD before the Senate as he did before the House. The board agreed.

A letter was received requesting a copy of the minutes of the January tele-conference, which have not been approved yet. It was suggested to check with the Attorney General's office for a decision on the Sunshine Law responsibilities of MASWCD. There may be some instances where MASWCD is not required to abide by the Sunshine Law. A letter of response will be sent indicating the minutes are not officially approved yet and include a copy of the draft minutes indicating they will be approved on February 28.

The letter sent to the Program Office requesting a reversal of the decision not allowing scholarships has been forwarded to the Attorney General's office for legal review. The Program Office hopes to have an answer by February 28.

There being no further business, a motion was made by Steve Hopper to adjourn. Motion seconded by Kerry. Motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,



Peggy Lemons

Eli Mast

Executive Secretary