Minnesota resort owners always get noticed at the capitol!
Minnesota resorts are a rich part of Minnesota's history. Thousands of Minnesotans and families from the midwest can share their memories about family vacations at their favorite resort. Along with a few other resorts in the Park Rapids area, we are members of the Congress of Minnesota Resorts (CMR). Every year several members take a charter bus to the Minnesota state capitol to lobby for common sense legislation that is important to resort owners and the resort industry. I took part in our annual Day on the Hill this past week. Here are a few highlights.
Hot topics this year included a couple bills that are currently in the House and Senate, dealing with the restricted plumbers license and preserving post Labor Day school start.
Current law states that resort owners must obtain a restricted plumbers license to maintain water related fixtures on their property, such as faucets, hot water heaters, toilets, water pipes, etc. If they don't have the license, by law, they must call a licensed plumber in to do the work.
There are several problems with this law. New resort owners who have purchased their resort in the past six years, and new owners going forward, cannot obtain the license because the narrow window of time to obtain it is now closed. Another problem is that it's not at all practical from a guest service standpoint. If the plumbing breaks in a guest cabin at an inconvenient time, a nuisance that can certainly occur, a resort owner is qualified and able to make the repair on their own property without waiting to call out a licensed plumber, which could take hours or days. Guests want and expect excellent service, and resort owners certainly want to provide excellent service to their guests. Lastly, continuing education at the level of commercial plumbers is required to maintain the license, but resorters are not in the business of plumbing. They just want to maintain their own property.
The CMR, with help from their lobbyist Joel Carlson, introduced a bill this session that would exempt resort owners from requiring this restricted plumbers license. This legislation just makes clear that resort owners can maintain their property without a restricted license from the state, and without fear of non-compliance.
Preserving post Labor Day school start is threatened again this year. A bill has been introduced to lawmakers asking for a September 1 start date for the 2015-16 school year. The CMR and other tourism interests are again defending the simple requirement that schools begin after Labor Day statewide. This issue is critical to small resorts and the legislature has been willing to stand up for Minnesota's tradition of summer. There is no information that indicates that starting school before Labor Day has a measurable positive impact on learning outcomes, and making the change for one year only makes little sense.
(I should add here that a quick poll of Two Inlets Resort's Facebook fans indicated there is strong support from families that they also prefer school to start after Labor Day.)
The Congress of Minnesota Resorts exists to help family owned and operated resorts in Minnesota to continue as a viable segment of the Minnesota Tourism Industry. In addition to education and marketing, the organization seeks to advance legislation that enhances the ability for resorts to compete and remain viable tourism establishments for countless families.
Me with a few of my Park Rapids area resort owners.
Legislators are happy to share in the "FUN" the resorters
bring to the Minnesota State Capitol!
Until next time, ~~ Jennifer
As the owners of Two Inlets Resort near Park Rapids, MN, Jennifer and Bob understand that staying in contact with Minnesota's lawmakers is an important piece to continue to keep Minnesota resorts a viable segment of the tourism industry.