Outdoors blog: What's happening to outdoor bills in Legislature?
View my profile Click here to view previous posts or additional resources Add/view comment(s) | Permalink Updates on several legislative measures A pheasant hunter shows his prize during an opening-day hunt on public land. The Minnesota Legislatu...
Updates on several legislative measures
A pheasant hunter shows his prize during an opening-day hunt on public land. The Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill that would create a walk-in program under which farmers would be paid to open their land to the public. (News Tribune file)
Here's an update on several outdoor bills being considered in the Minnesota Legislature. The Legislature likely will wrap up in early May, but action has slowed this week in anticipation of this weekend's state Democratic convention.
Walk-in program for hunters -- The Senate Game and Fish Bill has included funding for this program, which would pay willing farmers to to open their land to public hunting. Similar programs are popular in the Dakotas. The House has no language about walk-in hunting in its Game and Fish Bill, Meier said.
"We're just in a holding pattern," he said.
Boat landing development -- Rep. David Dill (D-Crane Lake) has introduced a bill in the House that would put a moratorium on boat landing development to slow the potential spread of invasive species. The measure is part of the House Game and Fish Bill, said Bob Meier, assistant commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is working with Dill to try to modify the language in the bill to allow boat access development on lakes that currently have no access, provided there's an invasive species plan in place, Meier said.
Fishing license fee increase -- It appears that may not pass this year, and the DNR is not pushing for it, Meier said. Currently, there's language for a fee increase in the Senate Game and Fish Bill, but not in the House version.
"While we recognize the need, we think it's a little premature," Meier said. "We've asked the Budget Oversight Committee to take a more holistic view of fishing license fees, hunting license fees, the stamps, and get back to us with a proposal for next session."
"Definitions" bill passes Senate -- A bill repealing the speficic definitions meant to guide spending recommendations for the Outdoor Heritage Fund passed the Senate last week. There's no companion bill in the House curently, but a definitions repeal is included in an amended omnibus finance bill. The definitions, added by the House at the end of last year's legislative session, were for the words "restore," "enhance" and "protect." Many in the outdoor community and the DNR opposed the definitions because they would have restricted the kinds of projects that qualified for Outdoor Heritage Funds.