Yesterday, I started my morning by connecting with local elected officials, city staff, and community leaders at a local issues meeting.
Here’s some of the latest news from the Capitol and our community:
Minnesota goes through redistricting every ten years, after the U.S. Census is conducted. Using the latest Census data, legislators work together to draw new political maps. That means redrawing the boundaries of the state’s eight congressional districts, 67 state senate districts, and 134 state house districts. At the end of this process, each district should contain about the same number of residents as others of that kind. The new maps should reflect how Minnesota’s population has changed and the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of our state.
The House Redistricting Committee officially began this important process last week. The bipartisan group met on Wednesday, August 18 to review Census data and discuss related legislation. Over the next few weeks, they’ll be hearing from Minnesotans from each of our eight congressional districts. Residents of the 2nd Congressional District are invited to testify on Monday, September 15. If you’re interested, you can find details here.
Applications Open for Lawns to Legumes
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is now accepting applications for the popular Lawns to Legumes program. Minnesotans who establish pollinator habitat in their yard are eligible to apply for grants of up to $300. Applications will be accepted here until February 15, 2022.
When Lawns to Legumes launched in 2019, the BWSR received more than 7,500 applications for individual grants. This year, lawmakers secured nearly $2 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENTRF) to continue the program and extend support to more people. Lawns to Legumes also provides workshops, coaching, planting guides, and more. You can find these resources here.
Assistance Available for Dry Cleaners
Thanks to a bipartisan bill I championed, Minnesota is banning a harmful chemical that’s widely used in dry cleaning facilities. Perchloroethylene, commonly known as PERC, is considered a “likely carcinogen” and associated with a variety of health issues. People who work in dry cleaning facilities that use the chemical are at the highest risk for exposure, but people who live or work near these facilities or wear dry-cleaned clothing may be exposed to higher levels of PERC as well.
We delivered $355,000 to help the state’s dry cleaners remove and replace equipment that uses PERC before the ban takes effect in 2026. Eligible businesses can apply for cost-share funding of up to $20,000 on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s website. Applications are due by October 4, 2021. The agency encourages applicants to take advantage of matching fund opportunities like the MPCA Small Business Loan Program as well.
Game and Fish Fund Report Released
The annual Citizen Oversight Report on Game and Fish Fund Expenditures was released on Monday. This report outlines how funds were utilized over the past year and makes recommendations for the future. You can view the 2020 report and previous installments here.
Praise for Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor
As I mentioned in my last email, James Nobles – who’s served as Minnesota's Legislative Auditor for more than 38 years – recently announced that he will retire in October. On Tuesday, the Star Tribune published an op-ed praising the Legislative Auditor and his unparalleled commitment to nonpartisan oversight and good governance. The Editorial Board wrote that legislators will have a difficult time replacing Nobles, and as one of the legislators tasked with finding his successor, I agree. We’ll do our best to find a professional who shares his skills and dedication, but until then, I look forward to continuing my work with James Nobles.
Please feel free to share your questions, ideas, and feedback. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 296-6828.