Climate Voices

June 1, 2018
By: Sarah Goodspeed, Senior Policy Manager

So, what happened during the 2018 Legislative session?

Minnesota’s short 2018 Legislative session ended in a flurry this month, with your elected officials sending bills from the chamber floor to caucus and conference committees at all hours before session ended May 20.

Governor Dayton now is finalizing which bills he will sign or veto as the last check and balance in updates to our state laws. Climate Generation worked in partnership with many energy and environmental advocates to advance solutions to climate change at the State Capitol. We engage with communities to build a world of resilient communities with equitable solutions to climate change.

We supported youth to bring their voices to the Capitol, calling on their legislators to protect their future, sharing their stories with the Governor and individual legislators, and providing testimony against dangerous bills. Our youth advocates were successful in seeing many of the goals from April’s Youth Climate Justice Summit achieved in this session and are eager to continue working for more bold solutions next year!

This session saw some steps forward, some back.

Here’s a quick catch-up of legislation we worked on this year:

  • YEA! MN alumni Becca Krasky prepared testimony against Xcel Energy’s bill that would avoid Public Utilities Commission oversight and leave customers with the financial responsibility to update their nuclear plants. Youth rallied against this bill at the Youth Climate Justice Summit, securing Governor Dayton’s commitment to veto SF 3504. Thanks to loud public opposition and unity across coalitions, this bill did not pass in the House, and its language was removed from conference committee!
  • The bill HF 3759 — which would end review and authorize Enbridge to build its unnecessary Line 3 pipeline — passed the Legislature, but Governor Dayton stuck by his commitment to veto this shortcut as well.
  • Governor Dayton also vetoed the omnibus tax bill which, among other provisions, would prevent local governments from restricting plastic bag or packaging use to protect their communities from this source of pollution and waste.
  • Climate change education was put at risk in an Academic Balance bill, which would limit how schools teach politically controversial topics, despite scientific consensus on issues like climate change. SF 2487 was unable to pass alone, but was included in the Omnibus Supplemental Budget bill SF 3656 — that Governor Dayton vetoed. This omnibus bill also would have weakened water quality standards, reduced investments in renewable development, and minimized financing for community solar.
  • The bill SF 3245 that invests in energy efficiency through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) passed, allowing residents to pay back energy improvements through their monthly energy savings.
  • Free speech was under attack again this year in multiple anti-protest bills. The Governor vetoed HF 390, which increased penalties for protesters. Our youth asked Governor Dayton to protect free speech and advocacy organizations who are targeted in a second bill, and he came through with a veto!

[bctt tweet=”This legislative session in MN saw steps forward, steps back on #climate action. Get a play-by-play from @climategenorg. #mnleg”]

We thank Governor Dayton for standing strong in his commitment to veto many damaging bills this session.

We will work with legislators to keep strong bills moving forward next session such as school solar grants, expanding local energy production, increasing STEM education and green jobs pathways, protecting Minnesotans and our natural resources through strong public processes, and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources!

Your legislators need to hear why climate change is important to you and your communities!

Throughout the year we bring together policymakers and community members to share climate change stories and learnings, and there will be a number of new elected officials to work with in the new session this January.

We all can be a part of climate change solutions in everyday actions near and far, including voting to make climate action a priority at the local, state, and national level.

We look forward to continuing to engage our audiences in policy solutions to climate change as we work with youth, educators, business leaders, and elected officials.

Subscribe to our monthly enewsletter and stay involved with Climate Generation to learn about more opportunities to engage throughout the year!

[bctt tweet=”Thanks @govmarkdayton for standing strong in your commitment to protect our youth & our environment. #mnleg #actonclimate”]