[ST. PAUL, MN] – As Governor Tim Walz continues to work with legislative leaders to pass a two-year state budget that will drive Minnesota’s economic recovery by making investments in our students, small businesses, and working families, he today signed five omnibus budget bills into law.

“Today, I was proud to sign a strong set of bills that will not only help Minnesota recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but will bring us back better than ever,” said Governor Walz. “These bills will fuel our clean energy transition, providing jobs and clean air for generations to come; support the next generation of Minnesota’s workforce by investing in our students; keep our parks, trails, and waters clean and vibrant; and help maintain the strength of our agriculture industry.”

“I look forward to signing additional bills in the days to come as we work together to pass a two-year state budget that will drive our economic recovery by supporting working families, ensuring our students catch up on learning, and helping our small business thrive,” continued Governor Walz. “Minnesota is ready to put this pandemic behind us. It’s time for the Legislature to finish the job.”

The bill signing included:

  • Chapter 1, HF 13: Legacy Omnibus

This bill appropriates funds for increased access to high quality outdoor recreation opportunities and projects that will restore and protect Minnesota’s wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat. It also provides funds for projects to restore and protect water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams for the benefit of all Minnesotans. The Legacy bill is funded with revenues from the 2008 Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.

  • Chapter 2, HF 7: Higher Education Omnibus

HF 7 will help Minnesota’s postsecondary students weather the impacts of the COIVD-19 pandemic by providing support for food, housing, and mental health, as well as ongoing support for campuses. This bill contains appropriations for include funding for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, including operations and maintenance, workforce development scholarships, mental health awareness grants, and student basic needs grants. It also provides funding for emergency assistance for postsecondary students, grants to teachers in shortage areas, grants for underrepresented student teachers, and direct admissions.

  • Chapter 3, HF 8: Agriculture Omnibus

COVID 19 laid bare a multitude of issues in Minnesota’s agriculture and food systems, including the need for increased meat processing capacity. The bill includes funding for meat inspection and small meat processors, as well as funding for a new meat scientist at the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, meat cutting curriculum at Central Lakes College, and a mobile meat cutting facility that will service both students and small producers.

Additionally, the bill provides funding for Biofuels infrastructure, an increase in the Bioincentive Program, and increases for the Urban Agriculture Program, the Good Food Access Program, and Farm to School Program. The bill also establishes an Emerging Farmers Office and provides ongoing funding for translation services for the Minneosta Department of Agriculture’s Emerging Farmer Working Group. There is also a significant investment in farm outreach and rural mental health.

  • Chapter 4, HF 6: Commerce and Energy Omnibus

HF 6 establishes strong consumer protections and will help create jobs by expanding Minnesota’s clean energy economy. The bill includes funding for clean energy research, solar projects at schools and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, an extension of the Solar Rewards Program, and the creation of an Energy Transition Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. It also provides establishes new oversight of debt buyers and creates a student loan borrower bill of rights, with new protections for those who have student loans.

  • Chapter 5, HF 10: Transportation Omnibus

HF 10 includes an historic investment in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure, including funding for improvements to the state’s roads and bridges and enhancements to the multimodal transportation system. The bill provides a state match that will support the establishment of a second daily passenger train to Chicago and provides funding for body cameras for Minnesota State Troopers. It also establishes policy changes to prevent drivers’ license suspensions for minor court violations.

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Author: Editor
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