The bill would allocate money based on recommendations made by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for expenditures from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. That fund was established through a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1988 to direct proceeds from the state lottery and investment income to benefit natural resources.
When it was originally passed by the House, HF390 did not include all of the recommendations made by the LCCMR. Two were removed during the committee process. One was a $1 million study that would have been conducted by the Legislative Energy Commission to research and analyze the state’s energy policies and evaluate their impact on the state’s environmental and economic future. The other was a habitat study of turtle populations in urban lakes.
Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), the bill’s sponsor, said the turtle study is now back in the bill after a conference committee meeting early Monday morning. He also said the $1 million that would have been used for the LEC study had been repurposed for an “Emerging Issues” account that could be used by the LCCMR to react to future issues.
Pollinator provision removed
A provision that would have required land acquired, restored or enhanced with appropriations from the fund not be planted or treated with a product that contains pollinator lethal insecticide, was removed by the conference committee.
Torkelson said the provision had not enjoyed “universal support on the floor” when it was added as an amendment during debate on the original version of the bill and it was removed on a party line vote — Republican members voting against it — during the conference committee meeting.
Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), sponsor of the amendment that added the pollinator language, said she was disappointed in the conferees for not supporting the position of the House.