2018 Legislative Recap: State Leaders Prioritize Feeding Families
As many of you know, Second Harvest Heartland’s top priority before the Minnesota state legislature in 2018 was securing $18 million in general obligation (GO) bonding from the State of Minnesota to support the $50 million overhaul of a new statewide food bank distribution facility in Brooklyn Park. We were successful thanks to the engagement of our food bank and food shelf partners across the state, a robust network of supporters and help from Minnesota’s corporate leaders.
The final bonding bill that passed out of the legislature with only minutes to spare was signed by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) May 30 and included $825 million in GO bonding for crucial projects across the state. As Senate Capital Investment Committee chair David Senjem (R-Rochester) noted in the final hours of the 2018 session, the bonding bill focused on traditional investments and new but critical areas of focus such as mental health and “Feeding Families.”
Despite bipartisan disappointment regarding this session’s results, legislators and Governor Dayton can feel good about investing in Minnesota’s emergency food system – a larger, more efficient facility with enhanced refrigeration will enhance Second Harvest Heartland’s ability to source, store and distribute more healthy food that will reach hundreds of thousands of hungry Minnesotans in every Minnesota county (and every legislative district).
A special thanks to Representative Dario Anselmo (R-Edina) and State Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth). These legislators authored bills to fund this critical investment, secured hearings before the House and Senate Capital Investment Committees this spring, and worked tirelessly in the final days to preserve full project funding. Capital Investment chairs Senator Senjem and Representative Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) – and Representative Alice Hausman (D-St. Paul) – were also key project champions.
The state’s investment coupled with private fundraising will leverage significant funding focused on feeding Minnesota’s hungry families for decades to come – a big win for communities across Minnesota.