Tuesday night I was glad to attend Northern Neighbors Night at the Hill hosted by the Canadian Consulate! I reconnected with Ariel Delouya, the Consul General of Canada for the Midwest. It was a great opportunity to discuss how our governments can work together on the issues that affect us both.
This week I have been moving forward legislation in multiple committees. On Monday, I presented two of my bills to the Ways and Means Committee. I presented my bill regarding state land management, and the 2023 LCCMR bill authorizing funding for 85 projects across the state using about $80 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENTRF). Similar bills were introduced last session and I am glad that the House is taking swift action on them this year. Yesterday, I presented my bill to provide funding to Explore Minnesota Tourism to the Economic Development Committee. All those bills are moving forward, with the first two headed to the House floor for a final vote!
I have also been working to continue to introduce legislation to protect our natural resources. I introduced a bill to fund the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program, a bill to fund the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and a bill to allow for a local road wetland replacement program. These bills will help improve water and soil quality throughout the state by restoring and managing wetlands, wildlife habitats, and agricultural land.
I also re-introduced legislation I worked on last session to allow the maintenance and management of natural landscapes on private properties. Many business owners and homeowners have recognized the beauty and importance of native lawns but have been stopped from implementing them because of local ordinances. This bill would increase biodiversity and help our native pollinators thrive.
Lottery-in-Lieu Funding Restored
On Tuesday, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee advanced HF 389, my bill to right past wrongs by restoring the lottery-in-lieu funding to its originally intended use— protecting fish and wildlife, and improving our trails, parks, and zoos.
My bill would increase the “size of the pie” that are available to protect our natural resources after the lottery account was raided in the past to pay for other projects. The committee passed the bill after hearing testimony from multiple organizations in support of the bill. You can read my full statement here and watch a video of the hearing here.
Environment Committee Hears Cannabis Bill
On Tuesday, the Environment Committee, which I chair, also heard HF100, the bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. Our committee focused on the provisions of the bill relating to the environment—including environmental standards and cultivator licensing for businesses, manufacturers, and microbusinesses. You can watch the full hearing here.
During the hearing, I asked about how the Office of Cannabis Management must establish appropriate standards and requirements to limit odor produced by cannabis businesses and the importance of ensuring we have controls in place so that legalization doesn’t adversely affect our neighbors. This standard is similar to other odor regulations that the Environment Committee will consider later this session.
Stay in Touch
Please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback throughout the legislative session. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 651-296-6828. You can contact my Legislative Assistant Sam O'Neill at 651-296-3305 or via email at Samuel.ONeill@house.mn.gov.