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Legislative Audit Commission Meeting

Minutes

March 3, 2006

Members Present:

Representative Lyndon Carlson    Senator David Hann
Representative Rick Hansen Senator James Metzen
Representative Ruth Johnson Senator Ann Rest
Representative Aaron Peterson Representative Connie Ruth

Members Absent:

Representative Sondra Erickson    Senator Richard Cohen
Representative Torrey Westrom Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Tim Wilkin Senator Warren Limmer
Senator Thomas Neuville Senator Claire Robling

Other Legislators Present:

Representative Keith Ellison
Representative Mary Ellen Otremba
Representative Jean Wagenius

The Legislative Audit Commission meeting was called to order by Senator Ann Rest, Chair, at 2:08 p.m. in Room 112 of the State Capitol. The purpose of the meeting was to release and review the program evaluation report, Pesticide Regulation.

Senator Rest recognized Jim Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles gave an overview of the scope of the evaluation and then introduced Jody Hauer and Jo Vos, Project Co-Managers.

Ms. Hauer and Ms. Vos reviewed the major findings of the evaluation, which found that overall the Minnesota Department of Agriculture does a good job regulating and monitoring pesticides; however, improvements are needed. The evaluation recommended evaluating the consistency of enforcement actions imposed for pesticide violations; changing procedures for collecting pesticide application records; requiring advance notice before applying certain pesticides; providing statewide waste disposal options; monitoring urban pesticide use biennially, as required by state law; expanding surface water monitoring activities; and evaluating best management practices.

Senator Rest invited Department of Agriculture representatives to come forward, including Deputy Commissioner Perry Aasness; the Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division Director, Greg Buzicky;
the Regulatory and Response Section Manager, Paul Liemandt; and the Division Assistant Director and Environmental Section Manager, Dan Stoddard. Senator Rest apologized to the committee that she had a prior family responsibility at 3:30 p.m., and turned the meeting over to Senator Hann to chair.

Mr. Aasness apologized on behalf of Commissioner Hugoson, who had a prior meeting and could not attend. Mr. Aasness addressed all recommendations made by the evaluation, including the one to the Legislature. He explained that the Department of Agriculture agreed with all recommendations to the department, and what they plan to do to initiate each one. He said the recommendation to the Legislature (about requiring advance notification for certain pesticide applications) is likely to be controversial. The department will provide information, as needed, on the issue.

With no further business, Senator Hann thanked the representatives of the Department of Agriculture and adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.

 

_______________________________________
Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair

_______________________________________
Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary

 

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