Lost in all the hoopla at midnight Monday when the Legislature closed up shop with no budget deal made with Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the significance of passage a short time earlier of the Legacy Amendment legislation.
A few questions about the bill were raised on the House and Senate floors, but generally things went smoothly and the bills, which have been debated no for months, passed easily.
As a result, 200,000 acres of Minnesota will be restored, protected and enhanced that otherwise would have been neglected, as they have been traditionally.
The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council survived the session intact, no small feat, because some legislators intended to undercut the council, and/or discourage its members. In fact, the eight citizens on the council might be more resolute in their mission now than ever.
Here's what's next:
The council will begin to formulate a plan so it can more proactively determine what types of projects Minnesota needs, so its lands and waters can be better protected. In recent months, due to time constraints, the council had to sift through about $250 million in proposals, and take the best - which it did.
Now the council will devise a plan about what needs to be done and where, and solicit, to the degree possible and necessary, projects to fill those voids.
Naysayers whined a lot in recent months, saying the Legislature was fated to wasting the money, or grabbing it for their own purposes. Some legislators indeed thought and acted along those lines. But protectors of the money in the conservation community are many, and they prevailed.