SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Today, House DFLers and fellow Minnesotans are celebrating the first day of summer. As another beautiful season begins here in Minnesota, Democrats are also celebrating the passage of legislation that will preserve our state’s natural resources and expand access to the great outdoors.
“Minnesota’s abundant natural resources contribute to our state’s vitality and quality of life,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “It’s our responsibility to preserve our clean air, land, and water for generations to come.”
Many Minnesotans will spend time swimming, fishing, or boating at one of our states’ many lakes this summer. House DFLers successfully fought to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers during the 2019 legislative session. The two-year state budget that legislators approved in late May makes historic investments to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species.
“House DFLers successfully prevented Republican cuts that would have jeopardized our parks, public lands, and clean air and water,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Instead of cuts, we increased protections for Minnesota’s wildlife and natural resources.”
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are an ongoing problem in Minnesota waters. AIS damage our tourism and fishing economies; impact water quality; compete with native plants, wildlife, and ecosystems; and interfere with lake use.
This year, House DFLers secured increased funding for the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) at the University of Minnesota. MAISRC, a national leader in AIS research, will use the funds to continue studying the invasive animals, plants, and diseases that have been found in Minnesota and finding methods to control each species. House DFLers also passed legislation to increase AIS monitoring and education at boat launches and to provide grants to communities for prevention efforts.
“Minnesotans are proud of our beautiful lakes and rivers and expect us to protect them,” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South St. Paul), Chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division. “We have a responsibility to address the growing challenges of aquatic invasive species and keep our waters clean. Minnesota’s new budget will ensure that lakes and rivers remain healthy and enjoyable for years to come.”
“Our lakes are one of our state’s greatest natural resources,” said Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL – Deephaven), chief author of AIS legislation. “I’m pleased that my bill to support aquatic invasive species research and prevention will help protect and enhance their quality for Minnesotans.”
House DFLers worked hard to provide Minnesotans with greater access to parks, trails, and recreation. Legislators created a No Child Left Inside grant program to fund outdoor environmental, ecological, and natural resource-based activities for youth, particularly those who would otherwise have limited access to these opportunities. No Child Left Inside also supports school-based hunting, angling, archery, and trap shooting activities that meet state physical education standards, firearm safety programs, and high school fishing leagues.
“As a parent and someone who loves being out in nature, I’m excited about the opportunities that No Child Left Inside will create for Minnesota kids,” said Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL – Roseville), chief author of the bill. “Deer hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities are very important to my family and families throughout our state. It’s important that we ensure the next generation of Minnesotans has the same opportunities to participate in these traditions.”