House Floor Vote / May 18, 2017

SF550: Appropriation of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund money

In 1988, 77% of voters across Minnesota passed a constitutional amendment to use proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery to establish the Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is appropriated, “for the public purpose of protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife and other natural resources.” The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (“LCCMR”) makes final recommendations on how to spend the Trust Fund.

The LCCMR selected 69 projects totaling $59.1 million to recommend as the “LCCMR bill” to the 2017 Minnesota legislature.

A House committee deleted 21 projects recommended by the LCCMR, cutting over $17 million in recommendations, including:

  • $11.7 million from parks and habitat protections
  • $3.0 million from clean energy programs
  • $1.6 million from environmental education programs
  • $1.0 million from statewide research and data analysis

The $17 million was then appropriated to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP has traditionally received a majority of its funding through state bonding and other sources, not from the Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund.

In addition to the 21 projects cut, the bill contained a “no net gain” policy provision on state land acquisition north of U.S. Hwy. 2. “No net gain” means that for every project that acquired lands to be held by the state (like adding a new boat launch or filling an inholding within a state park) the state would have to sell an equivalent amount of land into private ownership. This policy provision was not recommended by the LCCMR and was added in a House committee.

The House voted to pass the bill with 82 “Yes” votes and 52 “No” votes which included cutting the 21 projects and incorporating “no net gain” policies. The bill was prepared for conference committee where changes were made to reach agreement with the Senate’s version.

What Would Happen?

A “Yes” vote would pass the bill, including cutting the 21 projects and incorporating “no net gain” policies, and move the bill to be compared with the Senate version in preparation for conference committee.

A “No” vote would allow the bill to return to committee where the recommendations of the LCCMR could be reconsidered.

How The House Voted

A “Yes” vote would pass the bill, including cutting the 21 projects and incorporating “no net gain” policies, and move the bill to be compared with the Senate version in preparation for conference committee.

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How The House Voted On This Issue

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