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Legislative Update – May 24, 2024

Friday, May 24, 2024

Legislative Update – May 24, 2024

Dear Neighbors,

The 2024 Legislative Session adjourned on May 20, and this two-year biennium has been one of the most productive in state history. This term, we worked towards a better future for Minnesotans and made progress on so many challenges currently facing our state.

We made great progress tackling issues like environmental protection, gun violence prevention, and strengthening consumer protections - priorities that previously stalled under divided government. But there is still more work to do.

House DFL lawmakers will continue working with our neighbors and community members to lower the cost of living, deliver economic security for working families, and ensure everyone has the tools they need to thrive.

After setting a transformational two-year budget last year, House DFLers built off 2023’s historically productive session by enacting more solutions to grow the state’s middle class and ensure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families.


Representatives Tina Liebling, Pat Garofalo, Speaker Melissa Hortman, Leon Lillie, and myself on the last day of session. This bipartisan group are the last remaining members of the Class of ’04! 


Environment Bill Signed by Governor

This week Governor Walz signed the 2024 Environment and Natural Resources bill into law! I’m proud of the final outcome reached with the Senate,  and I’m determined to do more next year to protect our environment and natural resources for future generations.

The legislation includes significant investments in tree planting and addressing emerald ash borer, a public water inventory update, policies strengthening and enforcing Minnesota’s air quality statutes, a regulatory framework for helium gas production, and nation-leading extended producer responsibility legislation for packaging recycling.

You can read more about our 2024 Environment and Natural Resources budget in this article from the Star Tribune: Invasive carp deterrent and switch to e-licensing are outdoors wins at Capitol, and here from the Duluth News Tribune: Here's what outdoor bills passed in Minnesota this session.


End of Session Action

Last year the Legislature passed our major two-year budget bills, and this year the House built on that progress by passing small supplemental budgets alongside more substantial policy changes in major committee areas. Working alongside the Governor and our Senate counterparts, we reached final agreements on all major budget bills.

You can find nonpartisan summaries about the final agreements here: Transportation, Labor and Housing, Energy and Agriculture, Public Safety and Judiciary, Commerce and Cannabis, Jobs and Economic Development, Environment and Natural Resources, K-12 Education, Higher Education, Human Services, Health, and Elections.

We also passed a gun violence prevention bill that includes tougher penalties for straw purchasers and a ban on binary triggers, a bill that will increase wages for rideshare drivers while keeping companies operating in Minnesota, a health occupational licensure and scoping bill, legislation improving our child welfare services and addressing racial disparities, and a tenant’s right’s package.

House Floor

Pollinator Provisions Passed this Year

Now that the session is complete, I will be compiling information from our nonpartisan staff on various issue areas we addressed in the Environment Committee this year. First up is pollinators!

In the Environment and Natural Resources bill (HF 3911/CH 116):

  • $800,000 was appropriated from the general fund for the Lawns to Legumes program
  • A pollinator account funded by 2.5% of the lottery-in-lieu money for activities that support pollinator habitat.
  • A provision requiring the DNR to designate the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species.

In the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund bill (HF 3377/CH 83):

  • $195,000 for a comprehensive list of Minnesota moths and butterflies and to conduct outreach to inform land managers and facilitate public appreciation of the species.
  • $387,000 to provide data on pesticide contamination in soil and the insect community and the effect of insecticide exposure on insect reproduction.
  • $297,000 to assess habitat quality and pesticide occurrence in Minnesota prairies to help inform management actions, endangered species recovery plans, and pollinator reintroduction efforts for endangered and threatened butterflies and other wildlife.
  • $180,000 to evaluate pollinator habitat on energy and transportation corridors and to host field-day training workshops.
  • $88,000 to analyze the effects of grazing and mowing on the vegetation and soils of solar sites managed for pollinator habitat and to improve understanding of the environmental outcomes from the colocation of solar panels; grazing; and native, pollinator-friendly vegetation.
  • $200,000 to create a baseline inventory of viruses in, and determine the threat of these viruses to, Minnesota native bees.
  • $698,000 to create and enhance pollinator habitat along public corridors from Lakeville to St. Cloud and to engage youth and the public through education and monitoring the impact of habitat improvements.
  • The appropriation for the Tools for Supporting Healthy Ecosystems and Pollinators project from Laws 2021 was extended to June 30, 2025.

In the Agriculture/Energy bill (SF 4942):

  • A onetime $75,000 transfer to the pollinator research account in the ag. fund, and
  • A statutory provision requiring accurate labeling when a food product appears to be honey but also contains another sweetener.