- Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s state band, a Somali youth group and monarch butterflies all have allies in the state House.

They’re part of a funding bill passed 97-31 Thursday that directs hundreds of millions of dollars from a dedicated sales tax to environmental, arts and heritage programs across the state.

Lawmakers carved out $200,000 to help Somali group Ka Joog (kuh-JOAG) offer arts and mentorship programs across Minnesota. They also guaranteed free rehearsal and storage space for the 117-year-old state band, which practices in a government building basement.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn fought for butterflies. The Minneapolis Democrat tacked on a provision that requires many agencies receiving money to grow plants that benefit monarchs and avoid using pesticides.

Lawmakers have a few weeks left to finalize the state’s budget.

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