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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1004

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/11/2019 02:18pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to transportation; regulating highway right-of-way mowing practices;
providing for pollinator habitat management; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018,
sections 160.23; 160.232; 160.2715.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 160.23, is amended to read:


160.23 DESTRUCTION OF NOXIOUS WEEDS.

Road authorities, including road authorities of cities deleted text beginshall causedeleted text endnew text begin, must cut down, eradicate,
or otherwise destroy
new text end all noxious weeds on deleted text begintheir respectivedeleted text end highways and streets deleted text beginto be cut
down or otherwise destroyed or eradicated
deleted text endnew text begin owned or controlled by the road authority. The
cutting, eradication, or destruction must occur
new text end as often as deleted text beginmay bedeleted text endnew text begin isnew text end necessary to prevent
the ripening or scattering of seed and other propagating parts of deleted text beginsuchdeleted text endnew text begin the noxiousnew text end weeds.new text begin
When destroying noxious weeds within a right-of-way, a road authority must use the most
effective integrated pest management method that is minimally disruptive to pollinators. If
noxious weed conditions do not merit full treatment of the entire right-of-way, spot treatment
must be used.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 160.232, is amended to read:


160.232 MOWING DITCHES deleted text beginOUTSIDE CITIESdeleted text endnew text begin; POLLINATOR
MANAGEMENT
new text end.

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Integrated roadside vegetation management" means an approach to right-of-way
maintenance that combines a variety of techniques with sound ecological principles to
establish and maintain safe, healthy, and functional roadsides. Integrated roadside vegetation
management includes but is not limited to judicious use of herbicides, spot mowing,
prescribed burning, mechanical tree and brush removal, erosion prevention and treatment,
and prevention and treatment of other right-of-way disturbances.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Pollinator" has the meaning given in section 18B.01, subdivision 20a.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Applicability. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner must comply with the provisions of this
section with respect to trunk highways and other roadway rights-of-way owned or controlled
by the Department of Transportation.
new text end

new text begin (b) Other road authorities, including counties, municipalities, and other local government
units, may and are encouraged to comply with the provisions of this section with respect to
highway and other roadway rights-of-way owned or controlled by the road authority.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Right-of-way mowing; maintenance. new text end

(a) To provide enhanced roadside habitat
for new text beginpollinators, new text endnesting birdsnew text begin,new text end and other small wildlife,new text begin anew text end road deleted text beginauthorities may not mow or
till
deleted text endnew text begin authority is prohibited from mowing, burning, tilling, or hayingnew text end the right-of-way of a
highway located outside of a home rule charter or statutory city except as deleted text beginallowed indeleted text endnew text begin provided
by
new text end this section and section 160.23.

(b) On any highway, the first eightnew text begin to 16new text end feet away from the road surface, or shoulder
if one exists, may be mowed deleted text beginat any timedeleted text endnew text begin as necessary for use as a safety zone for vehicles
to stop on the roadway or to maintain sight distance for safety
new text end.

(c) new text beginOne side of new text endan entire right-of-way may be mowed deleted text beginafter July 31. From August 31 to
the following July 31, the entire right-of-way may only be mowed
deleted text endnew text begin once per yearnew text end if new text beginthe road
authority demonstrates via an on-site evaluation that doing so is
new text endnecessary for safetynew text begin or
maintenance
new text end reasonsdeleted text begin, but may not be mowed to a height of less than 12 inchesdeleted text end.new text begin A road
authority is prohibited from mowing both sides of an entire right-of-way during the same
calendar year.
new text end

deleted text begin (d) A right-of-way may be mowed as necessary to maintain sight distance for safety and
may be mowed at other times under rules of the commissioner, or by ordinance of a local
road authority not conflicting with the rules of the commissioner.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end A right-of-way may be mowed, burned, deleted text beginordeleted text end tillednew text begin, or hayednew text end to prepare the
right-of-way deleted text beginfor the establishment ofdeleted text endnew text begin to establish or maintainnew text end permanent new text beginprairie new text endvegetative
cover deleted text beginor for prairie vegetation managementdeleted text endnew text begin, including forbs and native flowering plantsnew text end.

deleted text begin (f) When feasible, road authorities are encouraged to utilize low maintenance, native
vegetation that reduces the need to mow, provides wildlife habitat, and maintains public
safety.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (g) The commissioner of natural resources shall cooperate with the commissioner of
transportation to provide enhanced roadside habitat for nesting birds and other small wildlife.
deleted text end

new text begin (e) Except as provided under paragraph (d), a road authority is prohibited from mowing,
burning, tilling, or haying a right-of-way containing native plantings or designated as a
wildflower highway under subdivision 4.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Pollinator habitat management practices; right-of-way mapping. new text end

new text begin (a) In
collaboration with the commissioners of agriculture and natural resources and the Board of
Water and Soil Resources, the commissioner of transportation must establish pollinator
habitat management best practices for public highway and roadway rights-of-way in
Minnesota. The pollinator habitat management practices must include the establishment of
native plantings and designated wildflower highways where mowing, tilling, burning, or
haying is prohibited.
new text end

new text begin (b) When feasible, road authorities are encouraged to utilize low maintenance, native
vegetation that reduces the need to mow, provides wildlife habitat, and maintains public
safety. The commissioner of natural resources must cooperate with the commissioner of
transportation to provide enhanced roadside habitat for nesting birds, pollinators, and other
small wildlife.
new text end

new text begin (c) The commissioner of transportation must make available on a public website maps
indicating where public rights-of-way subject to this section exist, including any newly
constructed rights-of-way and any established mowing schedule for the rights-of-way. The
maps must also identify public rights-of-way adjacent to: (1) public parks, forests, wildlife
management areas, scientific and natural areas, and other lands similarly managed for
wildlife or pollinator habitat in grassland areas; (2) private lands managed as wildlife or
pollinator habitats; and (3) farmland managed as wildlife or pollinator grassland habitats,
including farmland not treated with pesticides. To the extent practicable, the commissioner
shall post signs indicating where the areas under paragraph (a) and clauses (1) to (3) exist.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Pollinator habitat management performance plan. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner
must develop and implement a performance-based pollinator habitat management plan for
the trunk highway system to improve the condition of existing pollinator habitat and enhance
the effectiveness of pollinator habitat management. The performance plan must include
strategies to achieve best practices for pollinator habitat management within all trunk
highway rights-of-way.
new text end

new text begin (b) At a minimum, the performance plan must:
new text end

new text begin (1) measure, enhance, and restore acres of trunk highway rights-of-way as prairie lands,
wetlands, and recreational lands such as parks, trails, and open space;
new text end

new text begin (2) measure and reduce pounds of pesticides and other chemicals applied within trunk
highway rights-of-way;
new text end

new text begin (3) measure and reduce tons of greenhouse gases produced by mowing within trunk
highway rights-of-way;
new text end

new text begin (4) measure and reduce energy consumption due to mowing within trunk highway
rights-of-way;
new text end

new text begin (5) measure financial penalties and settlements paid due to environmental damage,
worker safety violations, and worker health violations due to mowing; and
new text end

new text begin (6) reduce the number of instances of environmental damage, worker safety violations,
and worker health violations due to mowing.
new text end

new text begin (c) The commissioner must include annual performance targets to be achieved by each
district of the department for each measure under paragraph (b). Additional predictive and
consequential performance measures and annual performance targets may be identified in
collaboration with the public.
new text end

new text begin (d) Annually by December 15, the commissioner must submit the pollinator habitat
management plan, including information detailing the department's progress on implementing
the plan and an annual investment plan for each district of the department, to the chairs and
ranking minority members of the legislative committees having jurisdiction over
transportation policy and finance. The pollinator habitat management plan must be signed
by a professional engineer licensed in Minnesota.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Mowing permits. new text end

new text begin (a) A private landowner may apply for and the road authority
that owns or controls the adjacent public right-of way may issue permits to mow or hay the
right-of-way.
new text end

new text begin (b) A permit issued under this subdivision authorizes the permit holder to mow or hay
the right-of-way adjacent to the permit holder's private property, or another area determined
by the commissioner, once per calendar year at the time specified by the permit.
new text end

new text begin (c) A road authority is prohibited from issuing a permit or permits that would result in
a violation of subdivision 3, paragraph (c) or (e).
new text end

new text begin (d) A private landowner may apply for and the road authority that owns or controls the
adjacent public right-of way may issue pollinator maintenance permits that authorize the
private landowner to (1) foster pollinator habitat, and (2) refrain from mowing or haying a
designated portion of a right-of-way.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Exceptions. new text end

new text begin (a) This section does not apply to private easements or private
rights-of-way.
new text end

new text begin (b) If a permit is obtained under subdivision 6, a public or private landowner may mow
or maintain a public right-of-way that abuts the property and is within 100 feet in either
direction of a driveway entrance to the property.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Enforcement. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner must establish a unique telephone number,
e-mail address, and public website that allows private citizens to report suspected violations
of this section to the department.
new text end

new text begin (b) The commissioner must investigate credible reports submitted under paragraph (a),
and must provide follow-up information to the individual who submitted the suspected
violation.
new text end

new text begin (c) If a violation of this section is confirmed, the commissioner may (1) work with the
violator to take remedial action, or (2) refer the violation to law enforcement to issue a
citation.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 160.2715, is amended to read:


160.2715 RIGHT-OF-WAY USE; MISDEMEANORS.

(a) Except for the actions of the road authorities, their agents, employees, contractors,
and utilities in carrying out their duties imposed by law or contract, and except as herein
provided, it deleted text beginshall bedeleted text endnew text begin isnew text end unlawful to:

(1) obstruct any highway or deposit snow or ice thereon;

(2) plow or perform any other detrimental operation within the deleted text beginroaddeleted text endnew text begin roadwaynew text end right-of-way
deleted text begin except in the preparation of the land for planting permanent vegetative cover or as authorized
under section 160.232
deleted text end;

new text begin (3) violate section 160.23 or 160.232, subject to the exceptions contained in those
sections;
new text end

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (4)new text end erect a fence on the right-of-way of a trunk highway, county state-aid highway,
county highway, or town road, except to erect a lane fence to the ends of a livestock pass;

deleted text begin (4)deleted text endnew text begin (5)new text end erect or reconstruct driveway headwalls in or on the right-of-way of a highway
or road, except as may be allowed by permit from the road authority imposing reasonable
regulations as are necessary to prevent interference with the construction, maintenance, and
safe use of the highway or road and its appurtenances;

deleted text begin (5)deleted text endnew text begin (6)new text end dig any holes in any highway, except to locate markers placed to identify sectional
corner positions and private boundary corners;

deleted text begin (6)deleted text endnew text begin (7)new text end remove any earth, gravel, or rock from any highway;

deleted text begin (7)deleted text endnew text begin (8)new text end obstruct any ditch draining any highway or drain any noisome materials into any
ditch;

deleted text begin (8)deleted text endnew text begin (9)new text end place or maintain any building or structure within the limits of any highway;

deleted text begin (9)deleted text endnew text begin (10)new text end place or maintain any advertisement within the limits of any highway, except
as provided in section 160.27, subdivision 7;

deleted text begin (10)deleted text endnew text begin (11)new text end paint, print, place, or affix any advertisement or any object within the limits
of any highway, except as provided in section 160.27, subdivision 7;

deleted text begin (11)deleted text endnew text begin (12)new text end deface, mar, damage, or tamper with any structure, work, material, equipment,
tools, signs, markers, signals, paving, guardrails, drains, or any other highway appurtenance
on or along any highway;

deleted text begin (12)deleted text endnew text begin (13)new text end remove, injure, displace, or destroy right-of-way markers, or reference or
witness monuments, or markers placed to preserve section or quarter-section corners;

deleted text begin (13)deleted text endnew text begin (14)new text end improperly place or fail to place warning signs and detour signs as provided
by law;new text begin or
new text end

deleted text begin (14)deleted text endnew text begin (15)new text end drive over, through, or around any barricade, fence, or obstruction erected for
the purpose of preventing traffic from passing over a portion of a highway closed to public
travel or to remove, deface, or damage any such barricade, fence, or obstruction.

(b) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor.