The Minnesota Constitution requires that the legislative session adjourn by the third Monday in May, which this year is May 17, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The Senate and House have passed initial versions of their omnibus finance bills and have appointed conference committees to work out the differences between the bills. On most bills, however, there is quite a bit of difference between the House and Senate versions, so much work remains over the next two weeks.
Here’s an overview on where our GMPT initiatives stand:
Moving forward, the Legacy bill will use the House bill number, HF 1079. You can review a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate Legacy bills here. The parks and trails sections are nearly identical, providing Greater Minnesota 20% of the parks and trails fund and ensuring that the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission receives sufficient funding. Although the parks and trails sections do not appear to be controversial, differences between the House and Senate on other portions of the bill could slow progress on this legislation. We will be meeting with the lead bill authors and monitoring the process to ensure that GMPT’s interests are protected.
The Senate File number, SF 959, will be used for the conference report. You can find links to the side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate versions of the environmental bill here. We are happy to report that both the Senate and House versions contain the 2020 and 2021 recommendations from the Legislative-Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), which includes funding for local parks and trails grants, as well as funding for multiple projects proposed by individual GMPT members. We have been pushing hard on this legislation and are pleased to see progress. We were concerned that the Senate’s version would hamper negotiations because it included controversial wastewater grants, but those provisions were removed while the bill was discussed on the Senate Floor.
Among other items of interest, the House version includes a mechanism to provide funding in the future for the popular No Child Left Inside program. The House bill also includes provisions regarding the regulation of electric assist bicycles. We will be monitoring those provisions and any others that could impact our members.
If you have any questions, please contact GMPT’s legislative consultant Elizabeth Wefel at firstname.lastname@example.org.