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Legislative Update – May 29, 2024

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Legislative Update – May 29, 2024

Dear neighbors,

After the legislative session ended on May 20, the State Office Building, where representatives, staff, and other departments are housed, closed for renovation and construction. In the meantime, House offices are being moved to the Centennial Office Building across the Capitol Mall.

I will soon get set up in my temporary office in the Centennial Building, but in the meantime, I want to let you know you can always contact me through my official House email, with any questions, meeting requests, or issues with which I can help.


Memorial Day – Honoring our Veterans

I hope you were able to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and take some time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices of those who have served our country. They will never be forgotten.

Memorial Day

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a bipartisan Military Affairs Policy Bill, which includes Veterans’ Metro Meals on Wheels, recruitment bonuses, and bringing the Minnesota National Guard criminal justice statutes in line with the federal code.

We also passed a Veterans Finance and Policy Bill containing Governor Walz’s no-cost recommendations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Military Affairs. The legislation includes provisions to provide the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs with an additional financial management tool, increases the agency’s ability to better compete for and match federal funding for armory projects, and rededicates a bridge in the south metro.

Finally, this year’s Legacy Finance bill, which uses state lottery proceeds to preserve our history and cultural heritage, included several Veterans memorial projects and commemorations throughout the state. I was proud to support all of these bills and am glad to see they are now law.


Tree Provisions Passed this Year

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

Next up is tree planting! This year the legislature invested over $12 million in tree planting to address the impacts of disease, storms, and emerald ash borer. The 2024 Environment and Natural Resources budget included $688,000 of those funds to the city of South St. Paul for tree planting. All together we passed:

Department of Natural Resources:

  • Tree Planting in State Parks (State Parks Lottery-in-Lieu Account) - $2,000,000
  • Community Tree Planting Grants (Heritage Enhancement Account) - $5,000,000
  • Report on Reopening General C.C. Andrews State Nursery - $200,000


  • Zoo Tree Planting Grants (Zoo Lottery-in-Lieu Account) - $450,000

Metropolitan Council:

  • Community Tree Planting Grants (General Fund) - $3,188,000
  • Metro Parks Tree Planting Grants (Met Council Lottery-in Lieu Account) - $1,400,000

Policy Provisions:

  • Two statutory community tree planting grant programs were created, one administered by the DNR and one by Met. Council.
  • DNR’s Releaf program was modified to add prioritization criteria for the grants.
  • The cap on the amount of planting stock the DNR may produce annually was removed.
  • The requirement that DNR only supply bare root seedlings was removed.

Stay in Touch!

Please continue to share your questions, ideas, and feedback throughout the year. You can reach me by email at or by phone at 651-296-6828. You can contact my Legislative Assistant Sam O'Neill at 651-296-3305 or via email at


Rick Hansen
State Representative