The GMPT is sponsoring two bill this legislative session, SF 688/HF 1276 and SF 689/HF 1270, both of which are authored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) and Rep. John Poston (R-Lake Shore). The bills aim to increase funding for the Outdoor Recreation and the Local Trail Connections grant programs. The first bill seeks a general fund appropriation of $2 million over the next biennium, while the second bill seeks $5 million in state bonding. We are making a dual request to increase the likelihood that one of the bills will move forward.
SF 688, the Senate version of our general fund appropriation bill, has now been heard in both of the Senate committees that it needs to go through. However, bills that make requests for funding do not travel to the Senate or House floor by themselves. Rather, they are set aside for consideration when the Environment & Natural Resources Finance Committee creates its omnibus bill.
It is helpful that our bill was chief-authored by Sen. Ruud, who is vice chair of this committee, and co-authored by committee chair Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), but there is no guarantee that it will be included in the omnibus bill.
Spending requests are always difficult without significant grassroots support, which means we need your help! The first step is to ensure that key legislators know how important these grant programs are to our communities. If you haven’t done so already (or recently), please reach out to Sen. Ingebrigtsen and Sen. Ruud to thank them for supporting SF 688 and ask for its inclusion in the Environmental & Natural Resources Finance omnibus bill. We encourage you to reach out to your own senator and ask for his or her support as well. You can find your legislators’ contact information on the Who Represents Me? webpage.
Our chances of securing additional funding for the grant programs are much greater if we gain traction in both the House and Senate. We’ve had movement in the Senate, but now we need the House to take action. Please reach out to your representative and ask him or her to support HF 1276 and HF 1270 and request that they sign on to the bills as a co-author.
Please read this handout for more information on the grant programs and legislation.