Environment Trust Fund reauthorization clears another committee

A bipartisan bill heard in the Senate Finance Committee this week would initiate the process to place a constitutional amendment on Minnesotans’ ballots in 2024; the amendment, if ratified, would extend a current amendment to dedicate 50% of the state’s lottery sale proceeds to the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) through 2050. During a previous committee stop, an additional provision was added to the bill that would ask voters to dedicate the remaining 50% of lottery sale proceeds for a water system improvement fund, for the construction, repair, and improvement of public water systems and related facilities.

Speaking to the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to protecting our homes – from our global environmental home to our brick-and-mortar homes – a DFL amendment offered in Senate Finance would have removed the water system improvement fund and instead asked voters to use the remaining 50% of lottery sales proceeds for a constitutionally dedicated housing fund. Some Republican members on the committee argued that providing housing for Minnesotans should not be considered a core function of government, and the amendment was voted down.

The bill was passed unanimously out of the committee and will be heard next in the Committee on State Government. (SF 4131)