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Sen. Dille outlines his legislative record

Twenty-four years ago, in 1986, I began my campaign for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

My campaign slogan was "Experienced leadership with a common-sense approach." In speeches I would expand on that by saying, "Our decisions should be based on valid science, sound economics and common sense."

Valid science means peer-reviewed research that is peer-reviewed before it begins to make sure the experimental design is correct and then peer-reviewed a second time at the end of the research to make sure the results and conclusions are valid. To carry additional credibility, the research should be accepted for publication in a reputable publication.

To achieve even more credibility, the research should be repeated at multiple locations by multiple researchers. If similar results occur and similar conclusions are reached, the information is probably correct.

Sound economics means the new regulation, law or program should have a positive cost-benefit relationship. In other words, the value of the benefits should exceed the cost to provide that benefit.

Common sense is more difficult to define. The Merriam Webster Dictionary says common sense is "sound and prudent judgment."

A number of my legislative positions over the years have been controversial. Almost all have been made based on the principles outlined above. I believe history has or will some day show my decisions were usually correct.

Examples include the following initiatives that I chief-authored or co-authored and for which I served on the final conference committee:

- 1991 Wetland Conservation Act.

- 1994 Prairie Island pro-nuclear power dry cask storage bill.

- 1994 out-of-court 1837 Mille Lacs Indian treaty bill.

- 1987 farm safety bill.

- 1987-2005 -- Various feedlot regulatory and research bills.

- 2001 and 2007 -- Personal financial management and investment requirements for high school and college students.

- 2001 Pre-marriage education bill -- Pre-divorce education requirement for parents with minor children.

- 2008 Freedom to Breathe Act (anti-tobacco bill).

- Primary enforcement of seatbelt laws.

- Greenleaf State Recreation Area bill.

- Litchfield wastewater treatment expansion to accommodate the expansion of First District Cheese Production.

- Hutchinson Event Center development.

- Pseudo-rabies eradication program.

- Improvements to the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.

- 1988 and 2008 transportation funding bill that increased the gas tax.

- Many other legislative initiatives that are too numerous to mention.

In 2005, I wrote a 40-page booklet, "Livestock: Good for the Economy and Good for the Environment." In 2007, a second updated edition was printed. So far, 6,400 copies have been distributed.

The main point this booklet makes is that "a correctly sited and engineered livestock farm which is properly managed, follows the new 7020 Minnesota feedlot rules, and implements best management practices, is good for the environment."

There has been thought, research, and analysis put into every piece of legislation I've authored. Where there have been disagreements on issues, I've tried to weigh each side's point of view with what I hope was the best possible solution and outcome, knowing that, in some cases, neither side would be entirely pleased with the results.

I sincerely thank the people of my district who have continued to allow me to serve them for these many years.

Steve Dille is a state Senator for District 18.