This week’s adjournment of the regular legislative session also brought to close any of the conference committees with lingering work, including the conference committee charged with working out the differences between the two versions of this year’s Legacy Finance omnibus bill. Though many committees cited the lack of global budget targets as the main reason for not advancing their work, the Legacy committee’s budget does not come from the general fund, meaning the committee could have met and finished its work during normal session. Despite this, the conference committee met only one time during the final weeks of session.
The Legacy bill appropriates funding from the four ‘legacy’ funds that were established by the Legacy Constitutional Amendment approved by Minnesota voters in 2008. The four funds – the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Clean Water Fund, the Parks and Trails Fund, and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund – were established to provide ongoing support to projects across the state that protect and enhance water quality, provide access to the arts, preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage, and maintain our parks and trails.
Though there are some differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, the bills are incredibly similar. Because of this, passing the bill during a special session should be considered a low-hanging, achievable priority, and we will continue to advocate for an open, transparent, and public process for assembling the final product. (HF 1079)