In less than two weeks, the Minnesota Legislature will reconvene, and although the second half of the biennium is shorter, it will likely be another busy session. Because it is not a budget year, the Legislature will be focused primarily on the bonding bill and policy issues. For GMPT, we have several priorities for 2024. We would like to see more funding for the DNR’s local park and trails grant programs and will be pushing for the inclusion of such funds in the bonding bill.
The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee unveiled its omnibus bill today. We’re pleased to announce that it incorporates the bill we brought forward, SF 672, to provide an additional $1 million in funding for local parks and trails grants programs!
Although we’d like to see more money dedicated to this purpose, we are pleased to see this funding in the Senate’s omnibus bill. It has been more than a decade since general fund money was dedicated to these programs. We are also pleased that the Senate bill contains none of the language that would have restricted local governments’ abilities to build parks and trails.
A big thank you to everyone who testified, contacted their legislators, and/or advocated for this bill. The inclusion in the Senate omnibus bill is the first major step toward getting this funding approved this session.
The bill will be voted on by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee and the Finance Committee later this week. It will then travel to the Senate floor for a vote by the entire body. The House will unveil its own bill later this week and it will undergo a similar process. After both bodies have passed their bills, they will meet in a conference committee to reconcile the differences.