SAINT PAUL, MN – Late last night, House Republicans rushed through legislation that will have a negative impact on diversity hiring in environmental careers. The bill appropriating Minnesota’s lottery proceeds (HF 1265/SF 550*), commonly known as LCCMR, benefits projects that improve the environment and natural resources of the entire state.
Among the changes in the rushed bill were $1 million in cuts from an initiative to increase diversity in environmental careers. First term State Rep. Fue Lee (DFL – Minneapolis) stood to question Republicans about their reasoning for cutting funds that provide employment to communities of color.
“This is just another example of Republicans saying one thing, and then doing another,” said Lee. “Republicans claim to care about reducing disparities in the state of Minnesota regarding economic opportunities, but then they cut the very programs that would help get people of color into fields where they’re currently underrepresented. We should not have cut that $1 million if we’re serious about increasing diversity in environmental careers. I think this was not right for us, and a shameful change for Republicans to make.”
The innovative initiative cut from the LCCMR bill would provide a college-to-workforce pathway for women, ethnic and racial minorities, and individuals with disabilities. Under the initiative, students would gain invaluable skills and direct work experience in areas like water and wildlife management, habitat restoration, conservation and engineering. Republican legislators also removed various other projects related to climate change and renewable energy research and development.
Rep. Lee encourages constituents to contact him with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Rep. Lee can be reached by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .