2020 Legislative Session
In 2020, the Legacy of Nature bill (described below) was scheduled for a hearing in the House Legacy Committee. Two hours before it was scheduled to begin, the hearing was cancelled for unknown reasons by the Committee Chair, Rep. Leon Lillie (43B). With this action, the voices of people who planned to testify in support of the bill were stifled.
View the signed Letter of Support for the Legacy of Nature bill which was intended to be presented to committee members at this hearing.
A March 12 letter from Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board officials includes disinformation related to the Legacy of Nature (LON) bill. Our response below provides clarification and accurate information.
WHAT THEY SAY: “The Minneapolis Park Board, like all the other implementing park agencies in the metropolitan area, opposes HF 2703 and SF 3511.”
OUR RESPONSE: It is concerning that all ten park agencies are opposed to a bill that will:
- Increase transparency and accountability of how these funds are being spent
- Assure compliance with the 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan — a legislatively mandated report created to guide how parks and trails Legacy funds should be invested
- Better meet citizens’ expectations for the Legacy Amendment
Read our complete response.
Why we strongly support the Legacy of Nature bill, HF2703 | SF3511
Ask you legislators to support the Legacy of Nature bill (aka Parks and Trails Legacy bill). Find contact info here.
Our gratitude to Representative Masin and Senator Cohen for introducing HF2703 / SF3511 during the 2020 legislative session.
This bill proposes to amend the current Legacy process for the 40% of Parks and Trails Legacy spending appropriated to the metropolitan regional parks system to:
• rebalance spending so natural resources receive their fair share
• improve the process for project approval to eliminate ongoing conflicts
• help assure projects improve, not diminish, the ecological health of the park system
Changing business-as-usual is not easy, but it is critical for our Nature-based parks. The Legacy of Nature bill will bring the Regional Parks into greater compliance with the 25-year Legacy Plan and better meet citizens expectations for the Legacy Amendment. It will also greatly improve transparency and accountability for how these park and trails funds are being invested.
Why An Amendment is Needed
We look forward to continued and robust discussion on this topic, and an improved process going forward. We welcome your feedback and questions. Contact us at email@example.com.
2019 Legislative Session
Wilderness in the City written comment, Senate Legacy Committee, 4/10/2019
On April 10, both the House and Senate Legacy Committees moved their respective Legacy Omnibus bills including $40 million for 53 projects throughout the Metropolitan Regional Parks System.
- Projects were never reviewed by the committees, including several which were never vetted through any public process
- Legacy funding for building maintenance sheds and administrative offices, wave pool reconstruction, roads, and other construction costs
- Most projects will increase ongoing, yet unfunded, operations and maintenance expenses
- It is unknown what the impacts will be to the natural resource base of the parks system
notably lacking from the project list are natural resource restoration projects, despite this being the publics top priority for these funds (source: DNR Report, 10th Anniversary Legacy, December 2018)
Expected to be approved by the full legislature, this $40 million will flow into the metro regional parks mostly to build infrastructure, in contrast to the public’s top priority to take care of natural resources.
Wilderness in the City Public Testimony, House Legacy Finance Division, 4/3/2019
HF653/SF2444 bill includes more than $40 million in Parks and Trails Legacy Fund appropriations for the Metropolitan Regional Parks System. The bill was heard in the House Legacy Finance Division hearing on 4/3. The Senate version was heard on Wed., 3/27. Public testifiers in both committees were cut short; both bills moved through respective committees.