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S.F. No. 3086 - Mowing Ditches Restrictions Modification (incorporates the SCS3086A-1 amendment)
Author: Senator D. Scott Dibble
Prepared By: Krista Boyd, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-7681)
Date: March 23, 2016


This bill makes a number of changes to the section of statute regulating mowing of roadside ditches along highways located outside of cities.

The bill:

  • adds pollinators to the list of species whose habitats are intended for protection in several provisions of the statute;
  • expands mowing regulations to be also applicable to “persons,” while current law only applies to “road authorities”;
  • adds haying and burning as activities to be regulated similar to mowing and tilling;
  • expands the regulations to apply to right-of-way along roads and highways, while current law specifies only highways;
  • requires a person to obtain a permit from the Commissioner of Transportation before mowing, haying, burning or tilling along a trunk highway;
  • allows mowing, haying, burning, or tilling at any time of year within the lesser width of: (a) the first 15 feet away from the road surface or (b) a single pass of mowing equipment along the road surface. Current law allows mowing at any time within the first eight feet away from the road surface;
  • allows mowing from April 1 to July 31 outside of the defined width above only if necessary for certain transportation purposes or for destruction of noxious weeds as defined in law;
  • allows haying before August 31 if under a USDA drought disaster declaration;
  • modifies the dates and conditions under which an entire right-of-way may be mowed, hayed, burned or tilled;
  • removes a provision that allows mowing as necessary to maintain sight distance;
  • removes a provision that allows mowing by rules of the Commissioner of Transportation, or by a local road authority by ordinance;
  • allows specified areas within road or highway right-of-way to be maintained as lawns and mowed at any time, notwithstanding any other provision of this section;
  • defines a violation of this section as a petty misdemeanor, allows peace officers to enforce the provisions of this section, and allows road authorities to seek recovery of damages relating to these violations.

This bill is effective the day following final enactment, except that the paragraph relating to violations and enforcement of this section is effective August 1, 2017.


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