ST. PAUL (WJON News) - The 2024 Minnesota legislature will be gaveled into session next Monday, and the Minnesota Farmer’s Union has outlined its priorities.

On the top of the list is the MinnesotaCare Public Option. Last session, lawmakers authorized farmers and small business owners to buy coverage provided to low-income Minnesotans through the state’s Basic Health Plan. However, several details need to be finalized before the program is available.

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Right-to-repair legislation is also in focus. Last year, the state passed the most comprehensive right-to-repair legislation in the country but exempted farm equipment. The MFU will work to guarantee farmers and independent repair technicians have access to the parts, tools, and equipment to repair their own machinery.

MFU President Gary Wertish explains Right to Repair is a win for farmers and the Minnesota Economy

We want to finish the job on projects started but left incomplete in 2023. We need to pass Right to Repair legislation for farm equipment. When farmers pay thousands of dollars for farm equipment, they should be able to repair the equipment themselves or go to their favorite local repair shop to get it fixed. As implement dealerships have consolidated, they are further away from farmers and busier, which adds headaches when trying to get a timely repair done during planting or harvesting season. It’s just like when I get my farm truck serviced. I can take it to the dealership where I bought it or go to the independent shop in town. Farmers should be able to do the same thing with their equipment. Additionally, for some farmers, fixing equipment could be a way to diversify their income. Right to Repair is a win-win for rural communities and rural economic development.

The 2024 Minnesota legislative session must be complete by May 20th.

A list of the MFU priorities is available on their website.

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