Special Session Floor Vote on SF 7—Environment & Natural Resources Finance & Policy Omnibus Bill
Every two years the Minnesota Legislature must pass budget bills to fund many of the state agencies. Agencies like the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that manage the environment and natural resources are usually funded in an Environment and Natural Resource Finance and Policy Omnibus bill.
During the 2019 regular legislative session, a budget bill was not agreed upon before mandatory adjournment. The Governor then called a special session on May 24, 2019, and SF7 was introduced to fund the state’s environmental and natural resource agencies and to implement new policies relevant to those agencies.
All of the spending and policy changes pushed the bill to almost 200 pages in length. A few notable new policies in the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Omnibus Bill included:
No Child Left Inside Grant Program
Created a new program to provide funding for outdoor environmental, ecological, and other natural-resource-based education and recreation programs serving youth.
Watercraft AIS Surcharge Increase
Increased from $5.00 to $10.60 the watercraft registration fee aquatic invasive species (AIS) surcharge that will fund grants for local communities to manage AIS problems and create additional funding for AIS research at the University of Minnesota.
School Trust Lands
Technical changes were made to the statutes that regulate the permanent school trust lands fund that are in part preparation for the hybrid swap anticipated in the future.
Lawns to Legumes
The Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) will now oversee a program called Lawns to Legumes where the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) will assist homeowners in converting traditional residential lawns into pollinator friendly habitat.