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Area resort owners attend Day on the Hill

Area Congress of Minnesota Resorts members who attended Day on the Hill were, left to right: Vince and Cheryl Prososki of Northern Lights Resort, Richville; and Kristin and Jim Wherley of Sunset Bay Resort, Richville. Submitted photo

Members of the Congress of Minnesota Resorts attended the annual Day on the Hill in St. Paul on March 18 and 19, lobbying for legislation important to the resort industry.

Richcville resort owners Vince and Cheryl Prososki, of Northern Lights Resort and Jim and Kristin Wherley, of Sunset Bay Resort were among those who attended.

Hot topics this year included bills currently in the House and Senate dealing with restricted plumber’s licenses and preserving the post-Labor Day school start date.

A press release from the group said current law requires resort owners to obtain a restricted plumber’s license to maintain water-related fixtures on their properties, 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.

The resort group argues that this law is problematic. They say it’s not practical from a guest service standpoint, as it doesn’t allow them to make quick repairs in a timely fashion; instead, a licensed plumber must be called out, which can take hours or days.

They also argue that new resort owners are unable to obtain the license because the narrow window of time allowed to get one has closed.

Lastly, they say continuing education at the level of commercial plumbers is required to maintain the license, but resort owners are not in the business of plumbing and just want to be able to maintain their own property.

The group, with help from lobbyist Joel Carlson, introduced a bill this session that would exempt resort owners from the restricted plumber’s license requirement. The legislation would ensure resort owners could maintain their property without a restricted license from the state, without fear of non-compliance.

Resort owners and other stakeholders are again defending a requirement for Minnesota schools to begin after Labor Day.

A bill has been introduced to lawmakers asking for a Sept. 1 start date for the 2015-2016 school year. The Congress of Minnesota Resorts believes that, with no information to indicate that starting school before Labor Day has a measurable positive impact on learning outcomes, making the change for just one year makes little sense.