The House soon will be entering its annual Easter/Passover break, but not before this week passing a Legacy Amendment bill I worked hard to guide through the process.
As chair of the Legacy Division, the bill I authored appropriates more than $105 million in Legacy Amendment revenue. This year’s bill features measures derived from outdoor heritage recommendations made to the Legislature from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, as required per Minnesota statute.
One of the most important components of the bill combats invasive species such as Asian carp. Provisions include $4.7 million for a University of Minnesota research study and $7.5 million in 2012 to fund Asian carp barriers. This is to be a one-time expenditure and we expect the LCCMR to seek further funding. These efforts will also include combating other invasive fish species, milfoil and zebra mussels.
Another key element in the bill provides $800,000 to State Historical Society, much of which will be returned to local county organizations.
In total, $97.4 million is applied to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, including the Asian carp funding. Other appropriations we passed are $6 million to the Clean Water Fund and $1.7 million to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
We have gone to great lengths to increase transparency and accountability in Legacy Amendment funding since I took over as chair of the Legacy Division at the start of the 2011 session. The tools we put in place are working and citizens can click here for information on specific projects and appropriations.
This is an extremely complex issue and my top priority in heading the Legacy Division and appropriating funds is to uphold the intent of the Legacy Amendment. The bill we passed in the House does that and I am pleased it received overwhelming support in gaining approval.