News Categories: General News

25 Jun
By: MAT Staff 0

New Guidance from Secretary of State

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office has provided the following instructions for election officials when dealing with a person who is displaying campaign materials in a polling place on election day.

From the Secretary of State’s Office:

Please use the following process when dealing with an individual who is displaying campaign material or otherwise inducing or persuading another voter within the polling place:
1. Minnesota law prohibits a person from displaying campaign material or inducing or persuading a voter in the polling place.

2. Campaign materials include:

  • Any item including the name of a political party that has candidates designated under that party name on the ballot of the current election, for example, DFL or Republican. A minor party is not present on the primary ballot, therefore displaying campaign material, including apparel bearing a minor party name or the name of a political principle, for example, Libertarian, Independence, and the like at the primary is not prohibited. However, at the general election, such display would be prohibited if they were on the ballot.
  • Any item including the name of a candidate on the ballot at the current election. The name of a candidate who will appear only on the general election ballot, but not the primary, is not prohibited at the primary but is prohibited at the general election when that candidate appears on that ballot.
  • Any item in support of or in opposition to a ballot question appearing on the ballot that day.

3. If a person is displaying campaign material or otherwise inducing or persuading others within the polling place, you should do the following:

  • Explain that state election law prohibits displaying campaign material or inducing or persuading other voters in the polling place. (Minnesota Statutes, section 211B.11, subd. 1)
  • Ask the individual to either cover up or remove the campaign material while in the polling place, or to refrain from inducing or persuading other voters.
  • If they refuse, explain that eligible voters will be allowed to vote, but any refusal will be recorded and referred to appropriate authorities.

4. Even if a voter refuses to do so, you must permit any eligible voter to receive a ballot and vote.

5. Record the names and addresses of a voter from the polling place roster along with a brief description of the campaign material that the voter refused to remove or cover up, or a description of any other way in which the voter was inducing or persuading another voter.

6. Election judges and official challengers are prohibited from displaying campaign material in the polling place, or inducing or persuading voters. If they refuse to remove the campaign materials, or to stop inducing or persuading voters, you can ask them to leave.

 

Post expires at 4:25pm on Monday December 31st, 2018

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16 Jun
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Broadband services in rural America is focus of listening session June 19 in Minnesota

Broadband providers and the people who use—or would like to be able to use—those services in rural America are invited to offer their perspectives on enhancing e-connectivity at a listening session June 19.

The Upper Midwest Listening Session of the project, What’s on the Horizon for E-Connectivity in Rural America, will be 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 19 at the Archery Building on the grounds of the Rice County Fairgrounds, Faribault, Minn. A live webcast of the session will be available and can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/user/thefarmfoundation/live.

There is no charge to participate in this session but reservations are requested and can be made by sending an email to Michelle@farmfoundation.org.

“We want to hear from the people who live and work with limited broadband access today, as well as those who have innovative solutions for expanding the availability of those services,” says Constance Cullman, president of Farm Foundation.

Farm Foundation is partnering with CoBank, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to organize broadband listening sessions across the country. The intent is to gather insights into the tools that are needed to improve e-connectivity to enhance the economic health of rural America.

Bill Esbeck, executive director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association, will join Steve Fenske, attorney and government relations Manager with the Minnesota Association of Townships, to discuss e-connectivity needs in the Upper Midwest.

“Access to broadband is critically important for the economic viability and sustainability of rural communities. This listening session is a great opportunity to share the accomplishments of small, rural broadband providers across Wisconsin. The rural providers I represent are continuously reinvesting in their broadband networks and closing the digital divide,” said Esbeck. “Conversations like these among diverse stakeholders allow us to develop a greater understanding of the issues, explore solutions and showcase what has worked so these efforts may be replicated to the benefit of rural communities across the nation.”

Innovative solutions now being used to deliver broadband will be the topic for three Minnesota officials: Kristi Westbrock, CEO/General Manager of Consolidated Telephone Company of Brainerd, Minn.; Danna MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development; and Brian Zelenak, CEO of the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, Aitkin, Minn.

“Enhancing the quality of life throughout our communities is our priority,” said Zelenak. “Broadband spurs economic growth in rural communities and opens the door to modern education, healthcare and telework options. We’re proud to help modernize our local economy by making broadband internet a possibility for our members.”

“With these experts and the other rural stakeholders attending, we want to identify the challenges rural communities now face in providing quality broadband services, as well as the innovative options being used to address those challenges,” says Cullman.

The June 19 listening session is part of a series planned across the country. A report of the feedback from those sessions will be provided to federal and state public and private leaders to better inform their decisions regarding improvements to, and expansion of, broadband services in rural America.

Dates and locations of future listening sessions will be announced by the end of June.

Article appeared in the High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, June 14, 2018.

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21 May
By: Steve Fenske 0

End of 2018 Regular Session

Both the House and Senate ended their Regular Sessions minutes before midnight on Sunday, after passing or re-passing nearly all the ‘major’ bills. They did it with 4 minutes left to spare. It was remarkable how quickly they passed these items because only a day before, on Saturday, the major bills were either not yet passed or had already been vetoed by the Governor. The items important to townships remained in the bills passed by the Legislature, but we now wait for the Governor to act.

The Omnibus to End All Omnibus!?! The Supplemental Budget Omnibus bill (HF 4099 / SF 3656), at over 990 pages, nicknamed the mega-omnibus, omnibus-omnibus, and omnibus-prime – contains funding and policy changes for nearly all of MAT’s legislative priorities. The bill includes:

  • $4 million for the town road account, nearly $11 million for local bridge replacement;
  • $15 million for the Broadband Grant Program;
  • $200,000 for reimbursement to local governments for costs associated with increased maintenance due to the Border-to-Border Touring Route proposed in Northern Minnesota;
  • Amendments to the MS4 (Municipal Wastewater Treatment rules) permit process that would exempt non-urbanized portions of townships that otherwise must comply with those rules.

The bill passed the House and Senate this weekend and was sent to the Governor, who promptly suggested he would veto the bill. The Governor had listed 117 items he wanted changed or removed, none of which are township-related. The GOP leadership said they addressed over 70 of those items. The good news here is that the Legislature and Governor appear to agree on the appropriations and policy changes favorable to townships. The bad news is that threat of the veto remains over unrelated items in the bill.

Bonding … Capital Improvement Bonding: There is also township transportation funding proposed in the Bonding Bill (HF 1226). A revised bonding bill was released late Sunday, which includes:

  • $35 million in undesignated Local Road Improvement Fund Grants;
  • $5 million in the Local Bridge Replacement Program;
  • $6.7 million in the Local Government Roads Wetland Replacement Program (Wetland credits fund).

Special Session – Is it really ‘special’ if it has become normal? No matter the answer to that question, we don’t know if the Governor will call a special session.

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11 May
By: Cari Alleman 0

2018 Session Update Week 12

10 days Left of the 2018 Session! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Transportation: The constitutional dedication of auto part sales, HF 4437, continued its journey through the House this week, with the House Tax Committee hearing the bill this week. This bill proposes dedicating 3.25% of the auto part sales to Townships for our road and bridges. This funding would be phased in between 2021 and 2024. Several interest groups have opposed the bill because it removes funding from the general fund. MAT continues to emphasize the importance of transportation infrastructure as a key to bringing industry into the rural areas. HF 4437 is scheduled for the House floor on next week. The Senate’s version, SF 3837, is in the Senate rules committee, with the Senate waiting for passage in the House before further Senate action. Next week will be an important one to if the bill is to move forward. If it passed both the House and Senate, you will see a question on the ballot come November.

Broadband: The proposed Broadband Grant Fund appropriation of $15 million is still on track. The governor suggested $30 million to the program knowing the need and desire to have the program help grow rural areas. The $15 million is included in both the House and Senate omnibus bills, with talk of it going up. As we move into the final week of session we will be pushing to increase the fund.

 

Post expires at 3:26pm on Monday June 18th, 2018

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26 Apr
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Free septic system and well management workshops from UMN and MDH

The University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program and the Minnesota Department of Health are offering FREE septic system and private well homeowner education classes across Minnesota.
The classes will cover the basics of how septic systems function, well water testing, and how to help protect your well from contamination sources. It will also provide property owners information on chemicals of emerging concern (CEC) including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and the potential impact on ground and surface water. Information on proper maintenance of both septic systems and private drinking water systems will be covered to help property owners protect their investments and the environment. A representative from the county will be present to answer any questions you may have related to the local ordinance and related programs.
Below is the list of locations and local contacts for more information:

May 9, 2018
Douglas County Lake Association
2:00pm
Douglas County Public Works
526 Willow Dr, Alexandria, MN
Contact: Pat Schultz, email: pats@co.douglas.mn.us / Phone: 320-762-3868

June 5, 2018
Lake County
6:00pm
Law Enforcement Center
613 Third Avenue, Two Harbors, MN
Contact: Emily Nelson, Email: emily.nelson@co.lake.mn.us / Phone: 651-249-5868 / Christine McCarthy, Email: christinem.mccarthy@co.lake.mn.us \ Phone: 218-834-8322
www.lakecountyswcd.org

June 6, 2018
Cook County
9:00am
Firehall
7401 Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN
Contact: Irene Mullen, Email: lmullen001@msn.com
cookcountycola.mnlakesandrivers.org/

June 6, 2018
Cook County
6:00pm
Grand Marias Community Center
317 W. 5th Street, Grand Marias, MN
Contact: Irene Mullen: Email: lmullen001@msn.com
cookcountycola.mnlakesandrivers.org/

June 14, 2018
Kandiyohi County
5:30pm
Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building
2200 23rd Street NE Willmar, MN
Contact: Eric VanDyken, Email: eric_v@co.kandiyohi.mn.us /
Phone: 320-905-4489 320-231-6229, ext. 5257

June 28, 2018
Itasca Waters
6:00pm
Wabana Town Hall
36463 Hunter Drive, Grand Rapids, MN
Contact: Patty Gould St. Aubin, Email: pgs@mchsi.com / Phone: 218-259-1603
itascawaters.org/

October 2, 2018
Washington County
5:30pm
Hooley Hall
12300 40th St N, Stillwater, MN
Contact: Stephanie Souter, Kati Hallerman Email: Kati.Hallermann@co.washington.mn.us / Stephanie.Souter@co.washington.mn.us / Phone: 651-430-6655
www.co.washington.mn.us/septic

November 6, 2018
Dakota County
6:00pm
Extension & Conservation Center
4100 220th Street W Ste 101, Farmington, MN
Contact: Emily Gable, Email: emily.gable@co.dakota.mn.us / Phone: 952-891-7008
www.co.dakota.mn.us/Environment/WaterQuality/SepticSystem

March 7, 2019
Blue Earth County/Nicollet County
5:30pm
Blue Earth Government Center
410 south 5th Street, Mankato, MN
Contact: Pete Otterness, Email: Pete.Otterness@co.nicollet.mn.us / Phone: 507-934-7076

Post expires at 11:56am on Friday March 8th, 2019

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24 Mar
By: MAT Staff 0

Minnesota Roadway Maintenance Training and Demo Day

This one-day event, which replaced the Spring Maintenance Training Expo in 2012, focuses exclusively on education and technology exchange through classroom sessions and outdoor demonstrations. Attendees learn about the latest practices, innovations, and research related to Minnesota’s roadway maintenance operations.

Date and Location

The next event is scheduled for Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds, 7223 Fairgrounds Rd NW, in Bemidji, MN.

Registration

Topics Covered

  • CDL updates & driving requirements
  • Cargo securement device procedures & inspection
  • Gravel road maintenance & design
  • Gravel quantity computations
  • Blading techniques & proper equipment
  • Culvert management & ditch maintenance
  • Surveying techniques & drainage
  • Gravel field surveying & assessment
  • Methods to identifying existing grades & drainage issues
  • Home-grown Minnesota equipment innovations on display

Who Should Attend

Maintenance operators, supervisors, and transportation and research implementation personnel from township, tribal, city, county, and state agencies who are seeking continued education and knowledge-building opportunities.

 

More Info: http://www.mnltap.umn.edu/training/roadway/index.html

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14 Mar
By: Ruth Simpson 0

Township Day News Stories

Three stories covered Township Day in Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio did a story on Township Day that featured Taylor Township in Beltrami County.

The Mankato Free Press had a story on Township Day that quoted MAT District Director Sandy Hooker from Medo Township in Blue Earth County.

The Detroit Lakes Online discusses Township Day with Roger Winter, who currently chairs the Becker County Township Association.

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13 Mar
By: Ruth Simpson 0

MPR: Mark your calendar: Tuesday is Minnesota Township Day

All of Minnesota’s nearly 1,800 townships will hold their annual meetings Tuesday in a grassroots display of democracy known as Township Day.

It’s a time for residents to voice their concerns about local issues.

“Usually the elected officers provide a budget of what they’d like to see,” said Steve Fenske, an attorney with the Minnesota Association of Townships. “And then the voters sit and talk about whether they want to provide what’s in the proposed budget or whether they want to cut back.”

The meetings often tackle topics like road maintenance, tax levies and planning and zoning. The number of townships assuming that responsibility has grown over the last decade.

“It kind of changes over time, but [that happens] usually when they get frustrated and they want to see something different,” said Fenske. “Ten to 15 years ago, there was a big push [for townships to take over planning and zoning] because there were feedlot issues. Within the last couple of years there’s been issues about solar gardens and where are they placed.”

Townships also lobby at the state Legislature. State money for roads and broadband expansion are key issues this year.

Many of the state’s townships will also hold their elections Tuesday.

Read full story.

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06 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Beware – Email Phishing Scams Sent to Towns!

MAT has received several reports of fraudulent emails asking the recipient to transfer money from the town’s account. The emails appear to be from another town officer but were not sent by the officer listed in the sender line. Town officers should verify email requests for money transfers, passwords, or other private information in-person or by phone with the alleged sender of the email, if ever faced with such a request. Remember, the information in an email, such as the person listed as the sender, can be misrepresented – just like the return address on a letter can be misrepresented.

“Phishing” is the practice of sending fraudulent emails to induce the recipient to reveal private information, like passwords, or to take an action that will harm the recipient. For more information, see Federal Trade Commission’s webpage on the subject, and the FBI’s information on computer security. Unfortunately, no amount of computer security can relieve us from remaining cautious and careful when using online resources, including emails that appear to be legitimate.

MAT’s 2018 Spring Short Course presentation for Clerks & Treasurers will also include basic information about computer and internet security.

 

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01 Feb
By: MAT Staff 0

Poison Hemlock now added to Updated 2018 Noxious Weeds List

See the commissioner’s order on this page approving NWAC’s recommendation for poison hemlock.  It is now a Prohibited Noxious Weed on the Eradicate List.  CAI’s, townships and cities make sure you let your constituents know about this change to the weed list.  State agencies should also pass this information to their field offices.  Also, remember that the 25 varieties of Japanese Barberry that were Specially Regulated are now Restricted Noxious Weeds.

Commissioner Order Noxious Weed List 2018_Signed

2018 MN Noxious Weed List Fact Sheet

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