Climate champions made Minnesota’s “blockbuster” session possible

The Minnesota Legislature is in party mode. This week, the University of Minnesota’s marching band led supporters of the pro-climate trifecta state government through song and cheers after what’s been described as a “blockbuster” of a legislative session. 

And they have every reason to celebrate. Minnesota passed its most ambitious and “historic” climate agenda in state history. 

Here’s how Canary Media’s Maria Gallucci described the moment

“Policy advocates and community groups have been pushing to pass some of the measures for decades. Proponents say the recent surge in federal climate funding — including through 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act — laid the groundwork to get emissions-fighting legislation over the finish line in Minnesota. Climate action has also seen unprecedented support from the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature, which are all controlled by Democrats.”

There is every reason to be excited about the 2023 legislative session. This pro-climate trifecta is proof of what kind of climate action is possible if climate champions run, win, and legislate on the climate crisis. 

As a quick recap, the pro-climate trifecta wasted no time earlier this winter when they passed a 100-percent “Renewable Portfolio Standard” – becoming the 12th state in the nation to legislate 100% clean electricity.

This accomplishment alone would have made the legislative session a banner year for the Minnesota Legislature, because this new law will create new clean energy jobs for workers and cut air pollution levels for families across the state. 

But, the pro-climate trifecta then established a State Competitiveness Fund – which will help Minnesotans unlock the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic climate dollars. This law is particularly helpful for rural communities who have trouble getting connected to those federal dollars. And in turn, municipal governments could receive more grants to help with the overall clean energy transition. This again means more jobs and less pollution. 

Again, banner year for Minnesota. 

And the pro-climate trifecta continued making history through the state budget, into the final days of session:

With the help of climate champions, Minnesota is using some of the state’s budget surplus to provide robust investments against the climate crisis and to clean up the state’s water supply, eliminating forever chemicals in the water we drink. 

Additionally, this investment will provide tax rebate incentives for families to help with the overall clean energy transition. This means families buying an electric vehicle could get a rebate up to $2,500 and homeowners could receive a $4,000 rebate for a new heat pump. And, grants will be provided for schools and public buildings to use solar energy. Last but not least, this historic climate law will help Minnesota leverage the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic climate investments too. 

National eyes are falling on Minnesota, because the state is no doubt becoming one of the top climate leaders in the nation. And, it’s all because a pro-climate trifecta was elected to the state government in 2022. 

Governor Tim Walz put it best during this week’s signing: “But guess what? Elections have consequences.” And, he’s right.

Prior to the 2022 elections, anti-climate politicians held a three-seat majority in the Minnesota Senate, blocking all efforts by the pro-climate State House to pass climate legislation. 

Minnesota’s “landmark” legislative session this year – which includes its historic climate legislation – is a direct result of the work it took from the campaign trail to elect climate champions to these state offices. Climate Cabinet Action joined the broader climate movement in Minnesota to make this opportunity possible. 

Applying our “moneyball” approach to the state’s legislative elections, we pinpointed the legislative districts that could help the state gain a pro-climate trifecta and invested in those candidates early. We gave climate champions like State Senator Nicole Mitchell the early resources her campaign needed to get off the ground running and build for success in the fall. 

Collectively, Climate Cabinet supported nine “moneyball” candidates – four for the Minnesota House and five for the Minnesota Senate. The result: eight of the nine candidates won – helping  flip the Minnesota Senate to a pro-climate majority, the first time in over a decade. 

Climate Cabinet Education has documented that in this political era, it takes trifecta state governments to pass substantial climate action. And, Minnesota can now be seen as a national blueprint for what’s possible when voters elect climate champions to state offices. 

Climate Cabinet helped Minnesota’s climate champions run, win, and legislate on climate change. And now, the North Star State will see new clean energy jobs, lower pollution, and a brighter future in the days ahead.