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House OKs $819 million Legacy conference committee report

Protect. Enhance. Restore.

That’s what the omnibus Legacy finance bill intends to do for Minnesota’s environment, arts, and cultural heritage.

Sponsored by Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) and Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul), it would appropriate $818.75 million during the 2024-25 biennium.

The conference committee agreement to HF1999 was passed 101-31 Tuesday. If also passed by the Senate, it’ll then go to the governor’s desk.

[MORE: View the agreement, download the spreadsheet, and read about the agreement]

Minnesota voters passed the Legacy Amendment in 2008 to raise sales tax by 0.375% and devote the revenue four ways: 33% to the Clean Water Fund; 33% to the Outdoor Heritage Fund; 19.75% to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund; and 14.25% to the Parks and Trails Fund.For various water testing, assessments, restoration projects, and other things, the Clean Water Fund would receive $318.4 million.

With the second largest appropriation, the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund would get $191.95 million, some of which could support arts education, preservation and access, as well provide statewide historic and cultural grants.

For the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the omnibus package would appropriate $171.79 million mostly for prairies, forests, wetlands and habitats.

Including protecting and enhancing thousands of acres of land, Lillie noted that investments in public land serve all Minnesotans, new and old.

Almost all the $136.61 million Parks and Trails appropriation would go to either the Department of Natural Resources or the Metropolitan Council for projects and grants that support parks and trails of regional significance.

Rep. Jeff Backer (R-Browns Valley) believes the Legacy conference committee cut corners. “We passed this bill out of conference committee, members, with no bill language. We had an outline.”

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