Senator Ruud’s Legacy Finance bill protects and maintains treasured resources—passes Senate unanimously

Today, with unanimous bipartisan support, the Minnesota Senate passed the final Legacy Finance bill authored by Senator Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point). This bill appropriates $645.6 million to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Clean Water Fund, the Parks and Trails Fund, and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Senate File 21 provides key appropriations that will preserve, protect, and maintain Minnesota’s natural resources. 

“It is important that we maintain our state’s natural resources, and the appropriations in this bill focus on doing just that,” said Sen. Ruud. “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done and continue to do to restore and preserve our state’s natural treasures. We are surrounded by incredible beauty across Minnesota, and we must continue to protect our lands, habitats, and waters for future generations. I am happy that the Senate and House committees were able to come to an agreement that prioritizes our resources and funds important recommendations without including any controversial policy provisions. This bill is the result of hard work from both legislative bodies.” 

In 2008, Minnesotans voted to amend the State Constitution to include the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (referred to informally as the Legacy Amendment). This amendment allocated three-eighths of one percent of the sales tax to contribute to four funds that aim to protect drinking water sources, restore and enhance habitats across the state, preserve arts and cultural heritage, support parks and trails, and protect and enhance lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. Legacy funding does not have a base, and every project must be newly appropriated for each biennium, except for the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which must be newly appropriated every year.

Notable provisions include:

  • Fully accepts $128 million recommendation from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, and the full recommendation of $110.6 million for the Parks and Trails Fund. 
  • The Clean Water Fund will receive $256.7 million, which includes funding for the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and the Public Facilities Authority.
  • Appropriates key funding to the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Minnesota to protect, maintain, and invest in our state’s water systems
  • $149.7 million for the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, of which 47% will be dedicated to the State Arts Board, plus allocated funding to the Minnesota Historical Society and the Humanities Center.
  • County Fair Grants to be distributed equally between county fairs
  • Veteran Memorial Matching grants
  • Funding for Minnesota Public Radio and AMPERS Public Radio
  • Chronic Wasting Disease in water study

The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk for a final signature.