- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Senate has voted to temporary delay the need for farmers to get permits to mow state-owned ditches along their land.

The bill passed 47-19 Thursday. It would stop the state transportation department from requiring or issuing permits to mow and cut hay from state-owned ditches until April 2018.

The state-owned lands provide farmers with hay at no cost but environmentalists say mowing destroys vital habitat for pollinators and monarch butterflies.

Republican Sen. Scott Newman, of Hutchinson, says the permits have been required for a long time but the rules are never enforced. With another year, he says, the groups should be able to work out their differences and find a compromise.

The Senate bill was consistent with the House version and is now headed to Gov. Mark Dayton.

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