Legislative Update – February 2023

Tourism Industry Recovery Grants

Rep. Rick Hansen (D, South St. Paul) together with several bill co-authors, has introduced HF 232 which appropriates $10 million for a Tourism Industry Recovery grant program. The grant program would provide money to organizations, Tribal governments, and communities to accelerate the recovery of the state’s tourism industry. Grant funds may be used to support meetings, conventions and group business, multicommunity and high-visibility events, and tourism marketing. This bill was heard in the House Economic Development Committee recently with supporting testimony from Sarah Psick (Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalition), Melvin Tennant (Meet Minneapolis), Tim Zunker (Shakopee Chamber and Visitors Bureau), and Julie Wearn (Visit Roseville). The committee members were very engaged in the discussion and recognized the value of tourism in the state’s economic growth and vitality. The bill was laid over for further discussion and will be considered as the committee continues work on budget issues.

A companion Tourism Industry Recover grant bill will be introduced soon in the Senate.

Many of you will be meeting with your local legislators and attending Days on the Hill – please encourage support of tourism industry grants and EMT funding!

HF 232 Letter of Support 

Governor Walz EMT Budget Proposal

Governor Walz has proposed an increase in the EMT base budget of $3.884 million in fiscal year 2024 and an increase of $746,000 in fiscal year 2025. The Governor has also proposed one-time funding of $5.9 million in each of fiscal years 2024 and 2025 for grants in several areas including supporting large-scale sporting events and other major events, group business and Governor’s openers, and promoting and supporting Tribal Nations. Additionally, the Governor is proposing $12 million in fiscal year 2024 to establish “Explore Minnesota for Business”, a new division within Explore Minnesota. EMT Director Lauren Bennet McGinty will be presenting the budget in legislative committees and over the next several weeks, the legislative committees with jurisdiction over tourism funding will review the budget request and put forward a legislative funding package for tourism.

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