Fishing cranks up; legislative logjam continues

Well, this should be a slow time of year, now that the
legislative session has ended. But the reality is that lawmakers
spent five months without accomplishing a whole lot on the natural
resources front.

What didn’t get done?

• A budget for agencies like the Board of Water and Soil Resources,
DNR, and Pollution Control Agency. If lawmakers and Gov. Mark
Dayton don’t agree to a budget by the end of the month, a state
government shutdown will begin. Perhaps most notably, state parks
wouldn’t be open over the Fourth of July holiday.

• A Game and Fish Bill. The Legislature passed a bill, but Dayton
vetoed it, citing several provisions he was concerned about. It
marks the second year in a row the governor vetoed the bill.

• Funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
Each year, about 100 projects receive funding from this fund, which
takes in proceeds from sales of state lottery tickets. These funds
were included in the environment and natural resources budget bill
– discussed earlier – that the Legislature passed, but Dayton
vetoed.

• Legacy funding. Voters in 2008 approved increasing the state
sales tax to protect natural resources, but the funds may not go
out this year. The House was debating the bill on the final day of
the session, but lawmakers talked and talked and talked until time
ran out.

It is worth noting the Legislature approved the aquatic invasive
species bill that DNR and Dayton proposed. The bill strengthens the
state’s laws relating to aquatic invasive species.

Dayton likely will call the Legislature back to St. Paul for a
special session sometime before the end of the month. But how
expansive the agenda will be is yet to be determined. While the
budget will be the number one priority, any of the other bills
mentioned above also could be discussed.

Fishing

On to more fun matters:

• Some anglers had a difficult time on the bass opener, while
others caught lots of fish. Many fishermen target the shallows on
the opener, fishing for spawning bass. But this year, the water
temperature was cooler than normal and many of the big fish hadn’t
moved shallow. Anglers who adjusted and fished deeper water caught
plenty of fish.

• Happy muskie opener to anyone who plans to be out there on
Saturday.

Categories: Joe Albert

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