Gov. Tim Walz signed a new clean energy bill, signed a bill that provides funding to hire additional criminal prosecutors expanding the capacity of the attorney general’s office to prosecute violent crime and signed a bill unlocking over $315 million in federally appropriated funds for road improvement in the state.
On Feb. 6, during Black History Month, Walz highlighted a series of proposals within the One Minnesota Budget that would support black Minnesotans.
“Our mission is to make Minnesota the best state to raise a family for everyone. This budget was built with the belief that we cannot build One Minnesota without ensuring Black Minnesotans are heard, supported and valued,” said Walz. “By investing in comprehensive health care, expanding access to child care, strengthening public safety, taking bold action to reduce child poverty, and investing directly in black entrepreneurs and black businesses – we have a historic opportunity to improve the lives of Minnesotans through the One Minnesota budget. I’m grateful for the black community leaders whose vision for a stronger, more equitable Minnesota informed this budget.”
Walz further reiterated that the budget proposals were informed by dozens of formal meetings the Walz-Flanagan Administration has held with hundreds of community leaders and members of the black community over the last year.
Also on Feb. 6, the Commission on Judicial Selection announced that it is recommending five candidates for consideration to fill two vacancies in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. These vacancies occurred upon the resignation of the Honorable Nicole A. Engisch and retirement of the Honorable M. Jacqueline Regis. These seats will be chambered in Minneapolis in Hennepin County.
On Feb. 7, Walz signed into law legislation providing funding for Attorney General Keith Ellison’s Office to hire up to seven additional criminal prosecutors.
“Ensuring public safety and delivering criminal justice requires partnership and coordination across state, county and local levels,” said Walz. "This bill provides the critical resources necessary to bolster the state’s ability to fight violent crime, bring justice to victims and support communities across Minnesota. We will continue to work with counties to make neighborhoods across the state safer for everyone."
Also on Feb. 7, Walz signed into law legislation establishing a Minnesota carbon-free electricity standard. With Senate File 4, Minnesota will take steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions, combat the climate crisis and create new clean energy jobs.
“Climate change impacts lives and livelihoods in every corner of our state,” said Walz. “Minnesota will continue to lead the way on combating climate change and we’ll create clean energy jobs in the process. This bill is an essential investment in our future that will continue to pay off for generations to come.”
The governor’s office said electrical utilities in Minnesota have already made significant strides toward carbon-free energy, with a decline in carbon emissions of 54% from 2005 to 2020, according to the recently published Greenhouse Gas Report. The new law gives utilities the planning time and flexibility they need to reach the 100% goal while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity for Minnesotans. In addition, the bill establishes a standard for utilities to supply Minnesota customers with electricity generated or procured from carbon-free resources, beginning at an amount equal to 80% of retail sales for public utility customers in Minnesota in 2030 and increasing every 5 years to reach 100% for all electric utilities by 2040. The bill also requires that, by 2035, an amount equal to at least 55% of an electric utility’s total retail electric sales to customers in Minnesota must be generated or procured from eligible energy technologies.
Also on Feb. 7, Walz signed into law legislation to unlock $315.5 million in federally appropriated funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve Minnesota’s roads.
“By investing in Minnesota’s transportation system, we strengthen our communities, economy and workforce,” said Walz. "I am grateful to the legislature for working quickly to pass legislation that will improve our state infrastructure, create jobs and directly improve the lives of Minnesotans across the state."
The $315.5 million to improve Minnesota’s roads was allocated to Minnesota in 2022 under the IIJA. Because a transportation bill did not pass last session, MnDOT did not receive the budget authority to spend these federally allocated dollars. This bill, passed unanimously by the Minnesota House and Senate, gives MnDOT the authority to use the IIJA funds for construction projects across the state.
On Feb. 10, Walz chaired the Council of Governors’ 26th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The President’s bipartisan Council of Governors was established by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 as a forum for governors to exchange views, information, or advice with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters of national security, homeland defense and disaster response and recovery.
“The safety and security of each of our states is strengthened when we come together and work in a collaborative, bipartisan fashion,” said Walz. “The Council of Governors remains united in our commitment to protecting our citizens. I look forward to continuing working with my fellow governors and building this state-federal partnership.”
The meeting focused on the progress made concerning issues of cybersecurity, emergency management and disaster response, issues impacting the Air and Army National Guard, workforce matters, strengthening state and federal cooperation to safeguard defense critical infrastructure and supply chain resiliency, and strategic defense budget trends.
The 26th annual meeting was attended by leaders across the federal government.