Legislative session begins Feb. 11 — here’s how you can help us prepare now!

The legislative session starts in six weeks, but our preparation has been underway for several months. Our main focus for the 2020 legislative session will be advocating for more money for local parks and trails grants programs from both the bonding bill and the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). We will also be monitoring activity at the Legislature to ensure that no changes are made to Greater Minnesota’s Legacy funding and that no onerous restrictions are proposed for parks and trails development.

Before the holiday break, we had an excellent meeting with staff from the Governor’s office and several legislators to discuss our push for more parks and trails grant money. We’ve drafted legislation and are currently in the process of finalizing which legislators will serve as the chief authors of the bills. As we prepare, we wanted to remind you of a few important steps each GMPT member can take now and throughout the session to help us reach our goals:

  • Reach out to your legislators and the Governor

We have an active presence at the Legislature thanks to our lobbyists at Flaherty & Hood, but it is always important that legislators and Gov. Walz hear directly from our members. If you have not passed a resolution or sent emails supporting our request for local parks and trails funding, it’s not to late to do so. You can read more here.

During the legislative session, we will occasionally send out action alerts urging you reach out to specific legislators. When you see action alerts for us in your inbox, please act! It won’t take more than a few minutes and it can make a big difference as we strive toward our goals.

  • Attend Legislative Action Day

On Feb. 26, we are hosting our annual GMPT Legislative Action Day at the offices of Flaherty & Hood in St. Paul. This is a great opportunity for you to connect with your colleagues and help us advocate for our legislative priorities. We’ve invited guest speakers from the DNR and the Legislature as well as from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. Please join us by RSVPing here.

  • Apply for grants and let us know about your progress!

We’ve been successful in advocating for more funding in past legislative sessions, but to make the case for more, we need to demonstrate that funding has been used well! The DNR is now accepting applications for a variety of grant programs. Learn more here.

If you’re applying for an outdoor recreation, local trail connection or scenic and natural area grant, OR if you’ve received one in the last five years, please let us know by emailing our lobbyist Elizabeth Wefel at eawefel@flaherty-hood.com. Our advocacy will be more successful if we can point to parks and trails that have benefited or will benefit from these programs.

Thank you for all your support! We look forward to continuing to work with you this legislative session. Please contact Elizabeth Wefel at eawefel@flaherty-hood.com if you have any questions about our legislative efforts.