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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL)

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Legislative Update - August 3, 2021

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the first days of August!  

Hansen 8.3.2021

I joined several Minnesotans, including fellow legislators and county commissioners, for a groundbreaking ceremony at Spring Lake Park Reserve last Friday. As I mentioned in a previous email, 130 acres of the reserve are being converted into a habitat for 15 American Plains bison. Bison used to be common in Minnesota, but the population declined significantly in the 1900s due to hunting and habitat loss. Bringing bison to Spring Lake Park Reserve will help conserve the species and restore native flowers, grasses, and other plants to the prairie.  

Hansen 8.3.2021 (1)

Legislators voted to invest $560,000 from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund in the bison reintroduction project, and I was the chief author of the bill that included the funding. The grant money will cover about half of the costs, which include constructing a fence, watering holes, and a paved trail with an observation station and humane animal handling facilities. You can read an article about the project here.  


Visit to Dodge Nature Center  

I visited Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul yesterday! This center has been a resource for our community and for young Minnesotans for more than 50 years. I always welcome a chance to go back, and I encourage you to visit, especially if you’ve never been. While the buildings and barns are currently closed due to COVID-19, there are still miles of beautiful trails open.  

Hansen 8.3.2021 (3)

 


New Laws Take Effect  

Several new laws we passed this year took effect over the weekend, including legislation that:  

  • Allows incarcerated Minnesotans who give birth to spend more time with their babies. Under current law, newborns are taken away from their parent after just 48 hours, interrupting critical bonding time and creating unnecessary trauma for both of them. This law permits the Department of Corrections to conditionally release pregnant and postpartum inmates for up to a year.   
  • Requires police chiefs to report all disciplinary actions taken against police officers to the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board. This will help identify patterns of behavior and keep problem officers off the streets.  
  • Requires the POST Board to create a list of approved trainers and courses for police officers responding to individuals with a mental illness or Alzheimer’s disease.  
  • Modifies the composition of the Board of Animal Health, which oversees livestock and domestic animals. The board will increase from five to six members, including four livestock producers, at least one of whom must be a member of a tribe located in Minnesota. 
  • Requires the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate criminal sexual conduct cases involving members of the Minnesota National Guard. This law will help individuals who experience sexual assault at the hands of another Guard member to get justice.  
  • Permits law enforcement to enforce protection orders issued in Canada while the person under protection is in Minnesota. This will help protect survivors of domestic violence on most sides of the border.  

A list of all of the laws that took effect on August 1 is available here.  


Applications Open for EAB and CPL Grants  

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting applications for various grants, including emerald ash borer (EAB) management and the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) program. All local units of government – including cities, counties, towns, Tribal nations, and parks and recreation boards – that actively assist with ash tree management can apply for grants of up to $100,000. Grant funding can be used for public tree inventories, developing a management plan, or removing and replacing trees. Eligible communities can learn more and apply on the DNR’s website. Applications are due on Monday, August 9.  

The CPL program supports projects that protect, restore, or enhance Minnesota’s forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat. Government entities and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $400,000. You can find more details here. The deadline for Expedited Conservation Projects (ECP) grants is 3 p.m. on Monday, September 13, and applications for Traditional and Metro grants are due at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 20. 


Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if I can ever be of assistance. You can contact me by email at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or call (651) 296-6828. 

Sincerely,  

Rick Hansen  
State Representative 

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