Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Krentz replaces Lessard as key committee chair

St. Paul Sen. Jane Krentz, DFL-May Township, will replace Bob
Lessard as the longtime chair of the Environment and Natural
Resources committee in the State Senate for the next biennium.

“I’m the new Bob Lessard. How does that grab you?” Krentz said
shortly after the Senate DFL caucus confirmed her as chair of the
committee on Monday.

In recent years, Krentz has become a strong advocate for the DNR
and natural resources funding. She headed the Senate Environment
and Agriculture Budget Division during the past biennium, and she
authored the legislation last year that diverted $25 million in
General Fund state lottery proceeds to the DNR for parks, trails,
and fish and wildlife programs.

A rule the Senate adopted in 1995 required a reshuffling of
longtime committee chairs. Lessard, who used his chairmanship to
work for sportsmen and conservation issues throughout the 1990s,
likely would not have retained his post anyway because of a
decision to run for his recent re-election as an Independent.

College hunting for her daughter in San Diego following a tough
re-election battle, Krentz called the post a “terrific assignment.”
She said she intends to introduce legislation early in the 2001
session to restore about $3 million from the $25 million in lottery
proceeds to natural resources funding. The Legislature diverted $3
million of that money late in the last session to cover Con-Con
land payment-in-lieu of taxes increases. Krentz advocates taking
that $3 million from another funding source. She also cited funding
for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program as a priority.

“We made good progress last session, and I look forward to
offering a balanced and fair approach to how we approach natural
resources,” she said.

Lessard had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe
requesting a seat on his old committee, but as of press time
Tuesday, it was unclear if that would occur. Krentz said she’d
welcome Lessard’s presence and experience as a committee
member.

Because of their majority in the Senate, DFLers retained control
of all committee chairs. On the finance side, Len Price, of
Woodbury, will replace Krentz as the head of the Environment and
Agriculture Budget Division.

Price, who’s been credited with helping to massage the Con-Con
lands compromise through Legislature last year, has more seniority
than Krentz but chose the finance division post. Past chair of the
state government finance division, Price has served in the Senate
for 10 years and prior to that, served eight years in the
House.

“I’ve learned in my years as a legislator that the money is
where the action is,” he said.

Chair of the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources,
Price will be carrying the LCMR bill in the upcoming session. That
bill includes a $12 million mega-proposal that combined funding
from multiple conservation groups.

Price and Krentz represent different portions of Washington
County in the north and east metro area and have co-authored
legislation in the past.

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