Legacy omnibus bill sees unanimous support in Senate

This year’s Legacy Finance Omnibus Bill passed off the Senate floor unanimously this week. The 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.

Included in the bill are some of the recommendations for projects from the Clean Water Council and all of the recommendations for projects from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. It maintains a spending ratio of 40:40:20 for parks and trails, which distributes spending from the Parks and Trails Fund at 40% to the DNR for state parks and trails, 40% to the Metropolitan Council for metro parks and trails, and 20% to Greater Minnesota regional parks and trails. Additionally, 47% of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund appropriations will be allocated to the Minnesota State Arts Board for grants and programs, and $4 million will be allocated to the Humanities Center for a Community Identity and Heritage Grant program.

It’s not often a bill as large as the Legacy Omnibus bill passes with unanimous support, which speaks to the bipartisan nature of the work that went into assembling the bill. The legislation will head next to a conference committee with the House to work out differences between the two, before it comes back to the Senate for final approval. (SF 971)