Legislative Session Begins Today: How Will the Election Affect Arts Funding?
Save the Date for Arts Advocacy Day: March 12, 2018
The arts community will face many changes at the Minnesota Legislature. MCA has been hard at work analyzing the coming changes and sorting out what it will mean for the arts. As with any change, whether on the state or federal level, we will have to be vigilant to ensure that arts funding is protected. In Minnesota the arts are a non-partisan issue, and MCA has a history of success at the legislature because work with many friends of all parties.
This is the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the Legacy Amendment! We will be encouraging arts advocates to call attention to the impact of arts funding, because when you support the arts, the Arts Give Back. The Arts Give Back campaign will launch soon!
Here’s a Quick Rundown on the Status of State Arts Funding
The biggest changes for us are in the MN House, where Republicans lost control to Democrats. The new controlling party puts its own people in charge of the House’s committees, and that includes the committees that decide arts funding. Rep. Leon Lillie (D – Little Canada) will take over the reins as Chair Legacy Finance Division that funds the arts. We think this is good news, as he has a history of supporting the arts. The State Government Finance Committee will be chaired by Rep. Michael Newman, (D) of Brooklyn Park, who is also arts-friendly.
In the Senate, still under Republican control, the State Government Finance Committee will continue to be chaired by arts supporter Senator Carrie Ruud (R- Breezy Point). The State Government Finance Committee, which oversees the General Funds for the arts (the funding that existed prior to the new Legacy funds), continues to be led by Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R- Big Lake). Rep. Kiffmeyer received an Arts All Star Award from MCA over the summer for her support of the arts.
We have a new Governor too, with Democrat Tim Walz taking the oath of office yesterday.
Newly elected legislators abound, many of whom are not aware of how arts funding in Minnesota benefits their constituents and their districts. There will be 2 new Senators and 39 new Representatives, and many new legislators on the arts funding committees to whom we need to reach out. Because of divided government, it’s expected to be a long and contentious session. The good news is that the state has a surplus, but the bad news is that most of that is already accounted for and there are predictions we are headed into a recession.
Together, we can make sure arts and Legacy funding is protected.
What can you do to protect the arts?
- Join us for Arts Advocacy Day on March 12 from 8 AM – 2 PM. You can find more info and sign up here.
- Watch for Arts Alerts as legislation starts to move. We will let you know when and ask you to contact your legislators. We’ll make it easy for you with our online action center.
- Join or renew your membership in MCA now to make sure that we have the resources we need to fight for the arts!