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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michelle (Shelly) Christensen (DFL)

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Rep. Christensen’s Minnesota Tourism legislation passed in compromise Environment and Natural Resources budget

Friday, June 25, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Environment and Natural Resources budget. The compromise legislation, which funds the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), and more, will help preserve Minnesota’s air, water, land, and wildlife for future generations. Funding for Explore Minnesota Tourism, championed by Rep. Shelly Christensen (DFL - Stillwater) was also included in the legislation.

“As our state begins to bounce back from the struggles of the past year, a full recovery needs to also include the businesses and Minnesotans that make up our tourism industry,” said Rep. Christensen, who also serves as an appointed legislative member of the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. “Thanks to vaccines, a fun, healthy summer is upon us, and our compromise budget preserves and protects our great outdoors while also promoting all the enjoyment they have to offer.”

As part of the bipartisan agreement reached in the Environment and Natural Resources budget, $29.9 million will be invested to help bolster the state’s tourism industry, and assist in the recovery from the struggles of the past year.  

The budget appropriates nearly $132.27 million from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, a constitutionally dedicated fund supported by state lottery proceeds. Securing these investments, which Senate Republicans refused to approve last year, was a priority for House DFLers. The investments will support 165 critical projects across the state, with funding for land acquisition, habitat, and recreation; data collection and research; methods to restore land, water, and habitat; and aquatic and terrestrial invasive species management.

To ensure Minnesotans can access and enjoy the outdoors for years to come, the Environment budget invests in state and regional parks, trails, and recreation areas. It supports programs like No Child Left Inside that create more opportunities for children and young adults to get outdoors and participate in recreational activities. Funding for the operations of the Minnesota Zoo and the Science Museum of Minnesota is included as well. 

The bill language can be found here, and a spreadsheet of the included investments is available here. Video of today’s floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel

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