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SBM Fire Chief Nyle Zikmund, Chair
The mission of the Legislative Committee is to provide focus, representation, and visibility for the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association in legislative activities by advocating, supporting, sponsoring, opposing and actively participating in the legislative process involving those issues, areas, or proposals as directed by the president of the association.
Legislative Committee 2012 – Nyle Zikmund
I must begin with a portion of last year’s report:
This past year the MSFCA Legislative Committee experienced a roller coaster ride of failures and success at the Legislature, primarily as it relates to the Fire Safety Account (FSA). We began on a low note when the Governor’s original budget came out and all FSA monies were transferred to the general fund for other use. However, shortly after and largely due to efforts by the Minnesota Professional Firefighters all money was restored; a historic first!
However, if you recall that report we ended up with nothing, or back where we began.
The report this year is much better and taking an analogy from the sporting world; a grand slam in game seven of the World Series down by three with two outs and two strikes against us! 2012 will go down as one of the most remarkable for the fire service in decades. While we did not accomplish all goals, significant strides were made on many fronts.
Specific to the Fire Safety Account we owe Governor Dayton, Representative Tony Cornish (Chair of Public Safety) and Representative Mary Liz Holberg (Chair of Ways and Means) huge thanks and appreciation as they were instrumental in securing and passing language that provided $4.5 million from the Fire Safety Account as well as increasing the base for the Minnesota Board of Fire Training and Education.
We will be recognizing all of these individuals at our conference and presenting them with a plaque in appreciation of their support.
Along with this historic funding from the Fire Safety Account, Governor Dayton vetoed two bills that were of significant importance due to the substantial impact they would have had on the fire service; legalization of fireworks and prohibition of sprinklers in the adoption of the residential building code.
Absent these vetos Minnesota would have ended up with the most liberal fireworks legalization due to the combination of what would be allowed combined with the most restrictive prohibitions on local government’s ability to regulate and control.
The residential sprinkler debate continues and the veto was just another step in this multi-year journey. However, absent the Governor’s veto, the mere possibility of continuing the debate and discussion would have ended.
Thanks to the members who advocate tirelessly on behalf of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs members; White Bear Lake Fire Chief Tim Vadnais, Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Ken Prillaman, Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer, Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen, Andover Fire Chief Dan Winkel, Richfield Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch, Saint Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler and SBM Investigations Chief Jim Hansen.
Special thanks to our lobbyists Sherry Munyon and Bill Strusinski who demonstrated once again why they are considered amongst the best of the best at the capital. Additional thanks to State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl, Public Safety Assistant Commissioner Mark Dunaski and Public Safety Commissioner Roman Dohman for all their support this pas session as well.
No meeting minutes at this time.
MSFCA Legislative Updates