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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update – June 6, 2024

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Legislative Update – June 6, 2024

Dear Neighbors, 

In the 2024 Environment and Natural Resources budget and policy bill, which I authored, we invested over $12 million in tree planting grants—including $668,000 for South St. Paul. 

This Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the Department of Natural Resources, City of South St. Paul, nonprofit Tree Trust, and me will be holding a tree planting event at Harmon Park (East Side). You can RSVP here. We will be planting a variety of trees to promote a more diverse and resilient tree canopy in South St. Paul, and I hope you can join us! 

Tree Planting

I’m glad to share that the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), has awarded the City of Inver Grove Heights over $415,000 in a Host Community Economic Development Grant! 

Funds will be used for capital costs of development or redevelopment projects to create jobs, increase the city tax base, and enhance the city’s ability to attract private investment. I congratulate the City for their work in applying for these funds, which will strengthen our community and make our district an even better place to live, work, and raise a family! 

I was also proud to join the Boy Scout Troop 95 (SSP and IGH) for its 100th Anniversary event earlier this week. It was great to see the history of the organization in our area and the good work they continue to do today.


K-12 Education Bill

This year the Legislature passed a K-12 Education bill that makes smart investments in our classrooms through literacy funding, teacher recruitment, and more. A few highlights in the bill are: 

  • $32+ million new money invested in the Read Act to pay for teacher’s time when they are getting literacy education training.  
  • $35 million in direct appropriations to our schools in literacy aid to implement the Read Act. These were funds appropriated last year that schools would have had to apply for in December. Now they are going directly to schools this July. 
  • A student teacher stipend pilot project that will pay student teachers placed in our public schools during the 2024-2025 schools year. Students from our teacher prep programs at the U of M, State Colleges and Universities, and at Augsburg College will receive almost $7,000 during their student teaching placement. 
  • Funds for the Minnesota Youth Council and YMCA’s Youth in Government to bring more student voices to the Capitol. 
  • New policies on cell phone use in schools to help students focus on learning 
  • A series of approached to address student absenteeism 
  • Elimination of unnecessary paperwork so special education teachers can spend more time in the classroom working with students 

I’m proud of this work, which builds on last year’s historic budget which began to reverse Pawlenty-era cuts, address funding inequities in South St. Paul, and set us on a path to sustainable education funding in the future. 


Feral Hog and Mink 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 a summary of the feral swine/mink provisions passed this session 

  • $700,000 (and $550,000 ongoing) was appropriated from the heritage enhancement account to implement new feral swine and fur farm provisions. 
  • Definitions were modified and added to for purposes of provisions restricting the release of domestic hogs and restricted species, including the addition of a definition of “domestic hogs,” expansion of the definition of “restricted species” to include additional pig species, and modifications to the definition of “release”. 
  • Modifications were made to prohibitions on releasing restricted species and domestic hogs, including requiring violators to register with the Board of Animal Health (BAH), implement confinement standards, maintain records, and reimburse Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) for the costs of inspecting the premises annually. 
  • A provision allowing the BAH to issue permits for transporting, possessing, purchasing, or importing restricted species for commercial purposes was eliminated. 
  • Provisions were included to require the owner of a domestic hog or restricted species to report its release to a conservation officer and the BAH within 24 hours and make the owner responsible for its recovery. If an owner doesn’t provide the required notification or fails to recover the animal within 72 hours, the animal is considered feral swine, subject to provisions for feral swine under chapter 97A, and is no longer the property of the owner. 
  • Peace officers will be allowed to enforce restricted species and domestic hog release restrictions and MDA will be able to impose administrative penalties for violations as follows: up to $1,000 for the first offense, up to $1,500 for the second offense, and up to $3,000 for the third and subsequent offenses. 
  • A person is now liable to the state for the costs associated with the release of a restricted species or domestic hog. 
  • A separate fur farm license was created, including a $250 fee. 
  • Definitions were modified and added for purposes of provisions restricting the release of feral swine, including the addition of definitions for “domestic hogs” and “release” and modifications to the definition of “feral swine”. 
  • A person violating prohibitions on possessing or releasing feral swine will now be liable for the actual costs incurred by the state and damages caused by the possession or release. 
  • A provision requiring the DNR, in cooperation with MDA and the BAH, to develop protocols for responding to the release of domestic hogs and feral swine was included. 
  • A provision requiring the MDA, DNR, and BAH to jointly develop and jointly or separately promote and provide to the public outreach certain outreach materials for managing feral swine was included. 
  • A provision allowing for the voluntary registration of fur farms with MDA was eliminated.