The 2020 legislative session began on Tuesday! I started the first day bright and early at a public hearing with other members of the House Capital Investment Committee. We discussed what we heard from Minnesotans on a series of bonding tours that we took during the recess. We also received an overview of the Governor’s capital investment proposal, which I mentioned in a previous update. If you’d like to follow along as we create our own proposal, you can find more information about the Capital Investment Committee and upcoming hearings here. Videos of our public hearings are available here.
On Wednesday, I attended the One Minnesota Conference at the University of Minnesota. This annual event brings all state legislators together at the beginning of the session. It allows us to get to know one another better and discuss the many challenges and opportunities facing our state.
I went to several public hearings today, including the first meeting of the committee that I chair – the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee. The committee members and I received an update on the No Child Left Inside Grant Program, which was established by legislation that we passed last session. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the first phase of the program will impact approximately 28,881 youth! A fact sheet about the first two phases of the program is available here.
Unlocking Federal Funding for Loon Conservation
One of the bills that I have already introduced this session would unlock $1.27 million dollars for loon conservation efforts. The federal government has already approved this grant, which is funded by a national settlement reached after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Republican Chair of the Senate Environment Finance Committee has withheld the funds. The Star Tribune and City Pages published articles with more of my thoughts on this and what I’m doing to make sure that these funds are delivered. You can read them here and here.
Things will move quickly as the legislative session continues. Please stay tuned for updates from the Capitol!