Delivering Reliable Energy

Delivering Reliable Energy
Cam Winton, director of energy and labor/management policy, checks in with Senator Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake.

SF 3463 – House and Senate votes
YES is a vote supporting Minnesota Chamber position

All Minnesotans rely upon our state’s infrastructure to move around the state, to ship goods, and to power and heat their homes and businesses. Existing laws protect the state’s railroads, airports and transit facilities, oil refineries and pipelines, and power plants and transmission lines. 

Despite these laws, various groups are recruiting and training individuals to trespass upon and damage that infrastructure, endangering the livelihoods and lives of Minnesotans. As one example, in October 2016, individuals seeking to draw attention to their viewpoints on climate change intentionally shut down an oil pipeline in Minnesota. 

This bill would have expanded liability and increased penalties to deter people from engaging in these illegal actions and hold them accountable for breaking the law. Under the bill, a person trespassing upon or damaging sensitive infrastructure would have been liable for any damages caused. Any person who recruits or assists a trespasser or vandal would also be liable for such damages. The bill also increased penalties for any person who trespassed upon sensitive infrastructure with intent to damage or disrupt it. Despite arguments to the contrary, the legislation was carefully crafted to avoid infringing on rights to free speech and free assembly.

The House and Senate both passed the bill, but it was vetoed by Governor Dayton who cited concerns about chilling free speech and free assembly. 

We thank Representative Dennis Smith, R-Maple Grove, and Senator Paul Utke, R-Park Rapids, for their strong support of the bill.

Interested in other issues? Visit the Voting Record page.