Reach across aisle to secure water

In a session most notable for strong partisan disagreement, state legislators on both sides of the aisle came together to support the improvement and protection of state water infrastructure. 
 
 
Last month, the Legislature passed a buffer bill to help prevent harmful agriculture runoff from entering bodies of water. Although House Republicans have presented a bonding bill with funding recommendations dramatically lower than those of the Democratic-led Senate or Gov. Mark Dayton, all parties agree that water infrastructure requires further attention.
 
 
It is encouraging to see bipartisan support for water infrastructure, as a report issued earlier this year found that almost two-thirds of test wells in central Minnesota had dangerous levels of pollution. 
 
 
Fixing polluted water systems is much more expensive than preventing pollution, so it is crucial that researchers examine Minnesota’s water infrastructure in order to prevent water crises. Fortunately, water infrastructure reform is likely in Minnesota, despite indetermination over exact funding sources.
 
 
We hope the opportunity to collaborate on a bill related to water infrastructure will spark more bipartisan Legislature at the Capitol. Proposals from the House and Senate this session have differed wildly in size, scope and priorities, demonstrating an unwillingness of both parties to compromise. 
 
 
Although political polarization is a national problem, we call on state legislators to meet in the middle. Safe drinking water is a basic human right, but matters of life or death shouldn’t be the only bills our leaders sign into law.