House & Senate pass bills that include GMPT priorities

The legislative session adjourns tonight, but we wanted to pass along some great news regarding the Greater Minnesota Parks & Trails legislative goals for 2017. If the Governor signs the Legacy and the Environmental and Natural Resources Finance and Policy bills, we’ll have achieved our major legislative goals for this session.

Legacy:  The Legacy Conference Committee Report preserved the 40/40/20 split of the parks and trails fund, with 20% going to regional parks and trails in Greater Minnesota. It also contained funding to allow the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission to continue its excellent work. And, almost as important, it did not contain any of the negative proposals that would have restricted our ability to use Legacy funds when developing projects.

Local Parks & Trails Grants Programs: The Environmental and Natural Resources Finance and Policy bill contained $1 million to provide additional funding for the Outdoor Recreational Grant Program and the Local Trail Connections Program AND the funding was added to the base budget for future years.

We’ll go into more details in our session end wrap-up report, but this is great news for our organization. We owe a big thank you to Senator Carrie Ruud, who not only shepherded the Legacy bill and made sure the negative language from the House side stayed out, but she also sponsored and shepherded our bill for the grants program. If you have a moment, please contact Sen. Ruud and say thank you!

And thank you to everyone who helped this session by testifying at committee hearings and reaching out to your legislators. Team work helps us reach our goals!