Changing a law to benefit all county citizens

Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent announced Monday that the House passed a bill he introduced to allow more local flexibility in appropriating money for veterans memorials.

Swedzinski’s bill would undo current state law, which prohibits county officials from funding memorials to veterans outside of their respective county seats. It would allow county officials to support memorials throughout their jurisdiction.

The statute currently reads: Each county board may appropriate funds to erect or aid in erecting a monument or other memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the nation to be constructed on the courthouse square, or in public park at the county seat, or in a cemetery adjacent to the county seat, or elsewhere in the county seat.

The wording of this present statute does not benefit all citizens of a county. There are several veterans organizations that operate within the communities of Lyon County. And these communities are proud of their veterans.

Jim Fink felt the wording of the statute was not beneficial to his community. The American Legion Post 199 commander went before the Lyon County board of commissioners back in April of 2016 requesting funding help for a memorial to be erected in a memorial park in Minneota.

He was told because of the wording of present Minnesota law, the board couldn’t approve any funding outside the county seat (Marshall). So Fink brought up the issue with Swedzinski.

Fink was invited to testify at a House hearing. Thanks to the efforts of Fink and Swedzinski to adjust the wording of the statute, the bill passed 125-0. It appears all of the House members agreed the change to the statute made common sense.

Hopefully, the Senate will follow suit. Fink expects to testify at a Senate hearing soon. If the Senate approves the bill, it would go to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

Once the bill is signed, Fink plans to request his memorial proposal to be put back on a future Lyon County meeting agenda.

Changing the law would be a good example of government making changes for the betterment of its citizens.