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

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Legislative Update - October 27, 2021

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Dear neighbors,  

The House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee, which I chair, met this morning to receive updates from several state agencies. Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and members of the Board of Animal Health kicked off the hearing. They shared information about efforts to track and prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) - a fatal neurological disorder that affects deer and similar species - this fall. They also talked about working jointly to regulate captive deer farms; legislation we passed this year gave the DNR more oversight of this industry. 

DNR staff also provided an update on grants we secured to help communities manage emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive species that kills ash trees. Several local governments received funding to perform public tree inventories, establish ash management plans, and plant new trees. These methods helped slow the spread of EAB, but more funding is needed.  

The Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) joined us to talk about grants that will help local governments improve their water infrastructure. The application process will begin on November 4. Stay tuned for updates!  

You can watch today’s hearing on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. The presentations and handouts are available here.  

Hansen 10.27 (1)

No Child Left Inside Mini Grants Available 

The DNR recently announced that mini grants will be available through No Child Left Inside, a popular program that creates opportunities for young Minnesotans to get outdoors. When the application process begins on December 2, public entities and nonprofit organizations will be able to apply for grants of $500 to $5,000. The grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and applications will close once a total of $200,000 is awarded. You can find more information here.  

OLA Releases New Report

The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), a nonpartisan division that aims to promote good management and program effectiveness, released a new report this morning. They looked at internal controls and compliance within the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. While the OLA concluded that internal controls and compliance were largely adequate, they also identified areas where the agency can improve.  

Department of Revenue Continues Adjusting Returns

Thanks to tax cuts legislators secured, more than 540,000 Minnesotans who received unemployment insurance benefits or federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are eligible for a refund. In mid-September, the Minnesota Department of Revenue began adjusting impacted income tax returns and issuing refunds. They’ve processed more than 27,100 impacted returns and nearly finished testing a new system they designed for this purpose. Once the testing process is complete, the department will be able to process 50,000 returns per week.  

Please keep sharing questions, ideas, and feedback. You can reach me by email at rep.rick.hansen@house.mn or call (651) 296-3018.  

Sincerely,  

Rick Hansen  
State Representative  

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