MEP Legislative Session Update

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It is nearly the end of the 2013 legislative session, and time for an update on MEP’s collaborative legislative priorities:  Clean Water Accountability, Transit for a Stronger Economy, and Clean Energy Jobs bills.

  • The Clean Water Legacy Accountability Act language is contained in the Legacy bills which, with the Senate’s passage last night of Senator Cohen’s Legacy bill, now have passed off the floor of both chambers.  Next step for CWLA is conference committee.

The Clean Water Legacy Accountability Act is crafted to address certain gaps in Minnesota’s water pollution tracking and cleanup laws, and specifically to nonpoint pollution.  Nonpoint pollution – largely runoff from large agricultural operations – is the single largest source of water pollution in Minnesota today, and is responsible for six out of seven (86%) of water quality impairments to Minnesota waters.  To review the CWLA language in the Senate Legacy Finance bill go to lines 58.1-61.10 of the bill.

  • Transit for a Stronger Economy – The Transportation Finance bill is in conference committee today, with the conference report possibly to be finished by midnight tonight.  When the conference committee concludes its work by adopting a Transportation Finance conference report, that report will be taken up for an up-or-down vote in both the House and Senate and, if it passes both, will then go to Governor Dayton for signature.

The conference committee today is attempting to bridge the gap between the House bill, which is a lights-on bill that does not provide increased funds for county roads and bridges, or for transit system completion, and the Senate bill, which includes several sources of additional funding needed to complete a modern 21st century transit system in the metro area and improve greater Minnesota transit service.  For more detail, see the Senate Transportation Finance bill, Article 2.

  • Clean Energy & Jobs – The Energy conference committee finished its work on Tuesday with the adoption of conference report that includes a solar energy standard of 1.5% by 2020 for investor-owned utilities, but no boost to the (primarily wind) Renewable Energy Standard.  Later Tuesday night, the energy conference report’s exact language was offered as an amendment in the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development conference committee.  The amendment was adopted and the Energy conference report now is contained in the Jobs conference report.  The Jobs conference report passed the House late last Wednesday night.  The next step is an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, which is likely to come today.  You can find the Energy conference report here.


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