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Legislative Update from the Capitol

Bills that BikeMN helped draft and partnered with supporters in the Minnesota Legislature to introduce are moving (or should we say rolling?) at the Capitol.

The Bill Dooley Bicycle Safety Act, chief authored by Representative Steve Elkins and Senator Kelly Morrison, has been heard in both the House and Senate Transportation Committees. BikeMN, and many supporters during the Senate hearing, testified in support of this bill. Both the House and Senate voted to roll the bill over for inclusion in the chair’s omnibus transportation bills, which won’t be released until later this March or April. The Committee Chairs are supportive, and we are confident that most of the provisions will be included in their omnibus bills including all or much of $25 million per year ongoing for the Active Transportation (AT) Grant Program and $10M per year for Safe Routes to School (SRTS). But those numbers are currently $0 for AT and $1 million per year for SRTS. Unfortunately, speed limit provisions will not be included. The bill’s chief author, Representative Steve Elkins, has a separate speed limit bill noted below.

BikeMN supports the speed limit bill language that Representative Elkins negotiated with the Minnesota counties as a compromise to the more flexible provisions in House File 677, which the counties opposed. BikeMN supports taking it out of HF677 and extends our sincere thanks Representative Elkins for negotiating the compromise found in HF 438! 

Article 2 of the Bill Dooley Act, the must provide bicycle education provision for schools in Minnesota, has also been introduced as a separate bill. This was done to avoid having all the provisions in HF 677 be heard in the Education Committee. Dorian Grilley, BikeMN Executive Director, testified in support of the bill, which passed the House Education Policy Committee unanimously!

There are several other funding bills that we support. Senate File 1689 chief authored by Senator Jasinski would appropriate $20 million per year to SRTS from the General Fund. 

Senators Housely and Nelson have introduced a $10 million Safe Routes Bonding Bill. Both the House and Senate Capital Investment Committee chairs also introduced $10M bonding bills. There are also the bonding bills from last year that are still on the table, one passed the House last week with $2.4M for Safe Routes to School and $1.6M for Active Transportation.

Finally, the E-Bike Tax Credit Bill was successfully introduced! Details can be found in the news release posted on the BikeMN Blog. It should be scheduled for a hearing soon.