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Pandemic alters legislative dynamic

Most people expected that the pandemic would alter operations at the Minnesota Capitol this year, but probably few expected the extent to which operations would slow and the challenges that would arise.

The House previously announced that it will be going virtual all session, but the Senate had hoped to introduce a hybrid model in early February that would allow some in-person committees. However, the technology did not work and they remain all virtual as well. The most important legislative work is typically done through person-to-person contact in meetings, hallway conversations, and in committee rooms. With everyone in different locations, it’s much harder to get things done and find common ground.

That being said, after a delay caused by significant back-ups in legislative offices, we are excited to finally announce that all of our legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate:

  • HF 1039 (Murphy) / SF 513 (Ruud) seeks $4 million in bonding for the Outdoor Recreation and Local Parks and Trails grants programs
  • HF 1208 (Lillie) / SF 1072 (Ruud) contains the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission’s funding recommendations and seeks 20% of the Parks and Trails Legacy Funding
  • HF 1264 (Murphy) / SF 787 (Ruud) seeks funding for the Commission from the state’s general fund

We’re focused right now on seeking bill hearings and moving the legislation forward. We encourage you to reach out to your legislators and ask them to support their local and regional parks and trails by signing on as co-authors to these bills.

Another important piece of legislation that we’ve been watching and advocating for is the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources’ (LCCMR) 2020 and 2021 bills, which contain funding for the local parks and trails grant programs as well multiple member projects. Both bills (HF 30 and HF 151) received hearings in the House and are awaiting a vote on the floor. The Senate’s 2020 bill, SF 166, is still waiting for a hearing. The 2021 bill, SF 690, was heard earlier this week and laid over for possible inclusion in a larger bill. Unfortunately, political disputes over issues unrelated to the bill continue to hold up progress on the legislation. We anticipate these bills will be in a holding pattern for several weeks and possibly until May, but we will continue to advocate on them.

If you have any questions on our legislative work, please contact our lobbyist, Elizabeth Wefel, at or tune into our next legislative forum on Friday March 5. Here is the schedule and log-in information for our upcoming biweekly legislative forums:

Topic: GMPT Legislative Forums
Time: Mar 5, 2021 01:30 PM 01:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Every 2 weeks on Fri, until May 14, 2021
Mar 5, 2021 01:30 PM
Mar 19, 2021 01:30 PM
Apr 2, 2021 01:30 PM
Apr 16, 2021 01:30 PM
Apr 30, 2021 01:30 PM
May 14, 2021 01:30 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

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Meeting ID: 897 9421 2690
Passcode: 027918
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