Legislation prohibiting the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) from enforcing permitting requirements for mowing and baling along state highway rights-of-way was heard in the Senate transportation finance and policy committee this past week.

The bill, Senate File 1889, prohibits MnDOT from requiring, issuing or enforcing permits until April 30, 2020.

“MnDOT’s permitting requirement disrupts farmers and landowners who have been mowing and baling along state highway rights-of-way for decades,” said District 16 Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls, the bill’s author. “This bill continues the moratorium on MnDOT’s enforcing of the permitting requirements, so farmers and landowners, legislators and the new governor’s administration can come together and find a permanent, bipartisan solution.” 

The legislature passed similar moratoriums in 2017 and 2018 in response to a surprise policy shift from MnDOT, which began enforcing permitting requirements for mowing and baling along state highway rights-of-way, prompting significant criticism from rural Minnesotans.

Among other things, the agency’s policy requires farmers and landowners to apply for a state-issued permit before mowing and baling along highway rights-of-way.

“We have the opportunity to do the right thing in getting folks together to work this out,” Dahms added.