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New business, yes; medical marijuana, no

The Rosemount City Council approved a 2014 legislative agenda Monday night that mayor Bill Droste hopes will give the city a strong, consistent voice when it comes to larger matters.

Droste said it’s important to put down in writing what the council supports and expects from Minnesota House and Senate members. By creating the document, Droste said, the city is sending a clear message. In recent history the city has not gone through the process to create legislative priorities.

“I think it’s important,” said Droste.

The document, which will be available on the city’s website, also informs residents what the city supports. Droste said he hopes that if residents have opinions on the list they will let council members know.

City administrator Dwight Johnson said the agenda includes a variety of issues that affect the community. The city identified a list of nine legislative priorities. Annually the list will change as issues come and go.

This year’s list includes support for Dakota County Technical College and legislation to improve the state’s business climate as well as opposition to the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

Council member Vanessa Demuth said she’s glad the city has created the document. The city will distribute the list to area House and Senate members.

Rosemount’s 2014 legislative priorities are as follows:

1. Economic Development legislation. Rosemount supports legislation to improve the business climate in the state including repeal of the warehouse tax, extend current tax advantages enjoyed by large data centers to smaller data centers and provide incentives for establishing very high speed data connectivity.

2. Support Dakota County Technical College in its request for $6.9 million of state bonding for Phase II of improvements for transportation and emerging technologies. Phase II will renovate an additional 63,000 square feet at DCTC and reduce future maintenance and energy costs.

3. UMore Park. Support the University of Minnesota in its efforts to clean up the property and prepare for development.

4. Sales tax exemption for joint powers agencies. The good legislation exempting many city purchases from the state sales tax should be extended to include joint powers agencies serving the city such as the Dakota Communications Center which provides 911 services for Dakota County.

5. Move MN Partnership, which encourages a statewide comprehensive transportation funding package with stable and dedicated funding. The proposal should be balanced among needs for highways and roads, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

6. Zip Rail. Rosemount supports continued planning and development of a high speed rail line between Rochester and the Twin Cities.

7. Highway 52 improvements. The city supports continued upgrading of Highway 52 to freeway status and specifically improvements of the Highway 52/County Road 42 interchange.

8. Tax forfeit parcel near Keegan Lake. The city requests special legislation to acquire this parcel for future park and regional trail purposes. The Department of Natural Resources staff supports the city’s acquisition but special legislation is required because there is more than 150 feet of shoreline within the parcel.

9. Medical marijuana. The city opposes any legislation to make marijuana legally available for medical or any other purpose. Law enforcement officials widely oppose it, mainstream medical associations are not supporting it and cities will bear the brunt of many potential unintended consequences in enforcing legalization law.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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