Advocacy News

Minnesota State Capitol
July 30, 2021
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Despite early concerns, strong outcome for parks and trails

It took a special session of the Minnesota Legislature to keep Minnesota’ s financial affairs in order, but a new two-year $52 billion state budget was passed in late June and went into effect on July 1. Despite a tumultuous session, a government shutdown was avoided, state parks remained open and most of the policy items P&TC worked to secure as part of our legislative agenda fared well.
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Parks & Trails Council's Research Bike
March 10, 2021
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House Legislative committee hears our case for state trail rehab

On Tuesday, our staff presented at the House Capital Investment Committee to share our State of the Trails report.
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February 1, 2021
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2021 Legislative Session underway

State park fee increases proposed in governor's budget Lawmakers convened the 2021 legislative session in early January in what will be one of the more unusual yet consequential sessions in recent memory. Legislators have a short but complex list of tasks: battling the ongoing COVID-19 ...
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Entrance sign to park
October 29, 2020
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Portion of Lake Vermilion State Park opens to OHVs

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) advocates have been pushing to open up state parks to ATVs for years, and in 2020 their focus was on Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park in northeast Minnesota.
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Minnesota State Capitol
October 29, 2020
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Bonding bill passes, key parks and trails projects funded

Minnesota's Legislative Session was unprecedented, which is to say, it fit perfectly into the year 2020. For most of the year, the much anticipated bonding bill was stalled. It didn't get passed in regular session (Feb - May), nor in the June, July, August, or September special sessions. Then, finally, in October, during the fifth special session, the House and Senate passed a massive, $1.9 billion bonding bill, which was signed by Gov. Walz on Oct. 22. The bill funds a wide variety of items from roads, affordable housing, and college buildings to parks and trails projects.
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boy biycling along trail
October 22, 2020
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Mill Towns: Trail development

Add one new trail mile near Dundas and renovate three miles of trail along the Cannon River between Northfield and Dundas.
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Aerial shot of bikers on trail
October 22, 2020
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Heartland: Itasca Connection

Extend the Itasca State Park multi-use trail system about two miles from the park’s contact station though a tunnel under Hwy 71.
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October 22, 2020
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Goodhue Pioneer: Trail acquisition and development to close gap

Trail acquisition and development connecting Zumbrota and Goodhue to Red Wing and the Cannon Valley Trail.
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Bicyclists riding at underpass
October 22, 2020
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Gateway: New segment

Build a 3-mile segment from William O’Brien State Park to the Scandia Village Center, including a tunnel under County Road 52
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picturesque paved bike trail
October 22, 2020
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Blazing Star: Bridge

Extends the Blazing Star State Trail 2.4 miles by connecting two existing trail sections with a 100-foot single span pedestrian bridge crossing Albert Lea Lake.
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icon of person digging
July 28, 2020
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Stalled bonding bills leaves key projects unlikely this year

The Minnesota Legislature wrapped up their second special session on July 21 without passing a much anticipated public construction package, which would have funded numerous park and trail projects. Now, all hope rests on a third special session, which Gov. Walz will likely call in August to extend his peacetime emergency powers.
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image of a report cover
May 21, 2020
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Legislature adjourns with much at stake in Special Session

When the Legislature adjourned on May 18, it did so without passing either a Bonding bill or a LCCMR bill – two of the most critical items of interest to all Parks & Trails advocates and supporters. Disagreements over the pandemic response and the size …

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May 18, 2020
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Status of 2020 Legislative Priority – Investing in metropolitan regional parks and trails

One of our priorities during the 2020 Legislature is to supports the Metropolitan Council’s request for state bonding funds, which are partially matched by the Metropolitan Council, to improve and expand the Metropolitan Regional Parks System.. Legislative Process Status FormatDateAmountDocMetropolitan CouncilRequestJanuary 2020$15 millionPDFGov. Tim WalzRecommendationJanuary ...
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Minnesota State Capitol
May 6, 2020
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Time to urge legislators to support parks and trails

Now that the four Minnesota House and Senate caucus leaders have agreed to a midnight, Saturday, May 9 deadline for bills, we are expecting a flurry of activity as lawmakers race to complete a long list of priorities, including the omnibus bonding and tax bills. Of particular interest will be whether or not the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate can reconcile significant partisan differences to pass these bills.
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April 7, 2020
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Legislative efforts focused on COVID-19, but bonding bill could still happen later in session

The 2020 legislative session isn’t turning out the way any of us expected. COVID-19 has altered all aspects of daily life in Minnesota (and around the world), and that includes Parks & Trails Council’s advocacy efforts at the state capitol. As you know, this is a rapidly changing situation and many people across our state agencies, legislature, and governor’s office are working hard to respond to this unprecedented emergency.
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