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House passes state and local government and veterans supplemental budget bill just after midnight

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

Since 1905 the current state capitol has served as the seat of Minnesota’s government.

The area around the majestic building is the financial target of much of this year’s state and local government and veterans supplemental budget bill. Plastic bags highlight possible policy changes.

Passed 69-60 by the House a minute into Tuesday, HF3431, as amended, now heads to the Senate.

“The bill contains modernization of state government, and it continues to improve the function and accessibility of our state government and services to Minnesotans,” said Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth), the bill sponsor.  

From a financial standpoint, the package calls for $2.5 million in supplemental General Fund spending in fiscal year 2025.

Nearly $2.16 million of that is for the Capitol Complex: $1.71 million toward execution of the Capitol Mall Design Framework that to seeks to “better Connect, Preserve, Activate and Grow the Minnesota Capitol Mall” and $445,000 for additional greenspace and other amenities on the site of a former parking lot, northwest of the Capitol and across from the light-rail station.

A Klevorn-offered amendment would prioritize how to spend any remaining amounts from a 2023 law for Capitol Mall Design Framework. 

Amendments to reallocate the $445,000 to the Becker County Attorney’s Office to support crime victims in the county, for Healthy Eating, Here at Home program grants, and to restore greenspace on the former location of Leif Erikson Park that disappeared for the State Office Building expansion were all rejected.

Other funding called for is $300,000 to replace a statue of Henry Mower Rice ­— one of two figures representing Minnesota in the United States Capitol’s Statuary Hall — with one of Hubert H. Humphrey, and $43,000 for “space costs incurred … by tenants that provide public-facing professional services on the Capitol Complex.”

[MORE: Download the state and local government spreadsheet]

A 2023 law established a task force to guide the use of a $5 million appropriation to a Capitol Area Community Vitality Account created “to improve the livability, economic health, and safety of communities within the Capitol Area.”

The bill would require $4.8 million from the account go to the city of St. Paul to make grants through the account to support the Community Voices Initiative whose purpose is “to unite and center neighbor efforts, across a racially and ethnically diverse community,” in part, to develop and implement resident- and business owner-driven strategies and sustain Capitol Area investments.

An amendment to delete the section was unsuccessful.

“The priorities of Minnesotans being completely disregarded here,” said Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska). “We should be investing in our communities, not green spaces to replace what you bulldozed, electric vehicles for bureaucracies, and state agencies and nonprofits with zero mechanisms to ensure that money is being used wisely.”


With no budget target in 2024, this session’s military affairs and veterans affairs bill, HF5181, instead focused on three policy provisions.

The first would triple the State Armory Building Commission’s bonding authority from $15 million to $45 million. The commission is a group of military affairs officers, chaired by the adjutant general, authorized to sell bonds to raise the money needed to bring in federal funds to build armories in the state.

The cap on the commission’s bonding authority has been raised several times over the years, most recently in 2000. But with construction costs continuing to rise, the increase should be enough to continue to match the needed federal funding to build new armories in Minnesota.

A second provision would rededicate what is commonly called the Mendota Bridge —where Highway 62 crosses the Minnesota River — as the Gopher Gunners Memorial Bridge in honor of the Minnesota National Guard’s 151st Field Artillery Regiment.

The bridge was originally dedicated to the unit which fought in World War I as part of the “Rainbow Division” commanded by Maj. Gen. Douglas McArthur when it opened in 1926. There is a small plaque on each end of the bridge commemorating that dedication that can only be seen by pedestrians and bikers. But with construction work on the bridge ongoing new signage is possible.

The final provision would allow funding for veterans homes already appropriated for fiscal year 2025 to be used in fiscal year 2024 should that be needed.

State and local government policy

Calling it another tool in the toolbox to deal with waste, the bill would repeal a statute passed in 2017 that, in part, prohibits a political subdivision from imposing a bag ban on merchants.

Supporters emphasized the bill would not guarantee a plastic bag ban but permit one should local leaders desire. Others said it should be a statewide issue, not a potential patchwork of local bans.

An amendment to repeal the provision was rejected.

Among other provisions in the bill are ones that would:

  • establish a state building renewable energy, storage and electric vehicle account in the special revenue fund;
  • reduce the number of Swift County-Benson hospital board members from “at least nine and not more than 12” to six voting members of which four would be elected by the county board and two by the city council;
  • let Anoka County build a jail and criminal justice center in any city in the county, not just the county seat;
  • allow Hennepin County to expand its set aside contract used for employees on rehabilitative assistance; and
  • require a cybersecurity incident impacting a state agency; political subdivision; school district, charter school, intermediate district, cooperative units and public postsecondary institution be reported to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

On the heels of eight newspapers closing in the southwest metropolitan area, an amendment was adopted that’d allow a political subdivision to post public notices and meeting minutes on its website if a qualified newspaper ceases to exist for any reason except consolidation.

Unsuccessful amendments

Among amendments that failed to garner support or ruled out of order were ones that would have:

  • suspended the State Office Building expansion project until a public hearing is held about the project;
  • put the new state flag and seal up for a vote at the 2024 election;
  • required funds for the Capitol Mall Design Framework to only be used “to implement, design, construct, install, or equip elements of the proposed framework that are detailed in the original vision for the Capitol Mall as designed by Cass Gilbert”; and
  • removed a provision that the adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan, fiscal device, or official control that is consistent with the Metropolitan Land Planning Act does not constitute conduct that causes or is likely to cause pollution, impairment, or destruction, as defined under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.

 — Session Daily Assistant Editor Jon Mohr contributed to this story


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