Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL)

Back to profile

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund proposal passes off House floor

Thursday, May 11, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation to renew and modify the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, with an 87-41 vote. The legislation proposes a constitutional amendment in the 2024 general election that would extend the dedication of lottery proceeds to the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) through December 31, 2050. The bill is authored by Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL-Saint Paul).   

“Since 1988, Minnesotans have overwhelmingly supported the ENRTF to ensure our land, water, and air had funding to protect our natural resources,” said Rep. Hollins. “I am excited about the creation of the Community Grants Advisory Council because we are prioritizing voices from communities that have been historically unrepresented. All Minnesota families deserve to enjoy the great outdoors to learn and share their cultural insights and knowledge of our land and natural resources with their community. Minnesotans care for one another and that extends to our environment, climate, and energy resources. It is important our communities have the opportunity to vote on this matter in the 2024 ballot.” 

If the constitutional amendment passes, the bill will also establish a new ENRTF Community Grants Advisory Council that would oversee 1.5%% of the fund and provide recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the administration of the grant program for communities that are overburdened or underserved.  

“Minnesotans — today and future generations — deserve clean air, water, land, and natural resources. For 35 years, the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund has provided a stable and consistent source of funding to benefit current and future generations,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Putting the renewal of this constitutional amendment on the ballot gives Minnesotans the opportunity to voice their support for these resources and to improve the effectiveness of the trust fund for years to come.”

The ENRTF is a constitutionally dedicated fund that may be spent only on the “protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.” The fund currently receives 40 percent of the net proceeds from the state lottery which is the amount required to be dedicated to the fund under the constitution until 2025. The other 60% goes to the general fund. HF 1900 also increases the amount available for the Legislature to appropriate from 5.5% of the Fund to 7%.  

“Minnesotans value the great outdoors and care deeply about conservation, wildlife management, habitat restoration, and more,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “That’s why the Minnesota House voted to renew the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund that has been working very well for decades. Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and we are committed to making sure Minnesotans are able to enjoy the great outdoors for generations to come.” 

This bill increases the effectiveness of the ENRTF for all Minnesotans by placing an additional focus on overburdened and underserved communities that normally have not received this money. As the fund is ever-increasing due to our state’s propensity to play the lottery, the payouts moving forward will be growing, and the Community Grants Advisory Council ensure that everyone gets their fair share. 

Video of today’s House Floor debate can be found here.