Tracking trouble in the legislative waters

Joe AlbertThere’s some legislation worth watching in both the state House and Senate.

Moratorium on trapping and hunting wolves.

In the Senate, the bill is SF 666. Authors are Sens. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center; Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka; Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul; and Charles Wiger, DFL-Maplewood.

The House bill is HF 1163. Authors are Reps. Jason Isaacson, DFL-Shoreview; Susan Allen, DFL-Minneapolis; Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan; Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis; Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington; and Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul.

Notice any patterns emerging? Not one Republican has signed onto either bill (though two Republicans took their names off the Senate bill). And none of the legislators are from anywhere near the state’s wolf range. Every single one is from the metro area.

The Senate bill will be heard next week in the Committee on Environment and Energy. That hearing is scheduled for noon on Thursday, March 14. Groups opposed to the wolf hunt, including Howling for Wolves, have been working to mobilize people to show up at the Capitol that day.

It’s the first real anti-hunting bill to be heard at the Legislature this year, so if you’re a sportsman concerned about your rights, it’s not a bad idea to attend. I plan to be there.

Outdoor Heritage Fund.

As expected, a bill that prescribes how to use the Outdoor Heritage Fund has been introduced. It is HF 1119 and there are a whole pile of authors.

The bill would send about $6.4 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to the Metropolitan Council for use in regional parks. The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council heard the parks proposal last year and decided not to recommend funding it. So it’s been introduced as a legislative initiative.

It’s worth clicking on the bill and seeing how it would appropriate the money, but if you thought that spending Outdoor Heritage Fund money in metropolitan parks was part of the deal when we approved the Legacy Amendment in 2008, then you and I don’t think alike. Remember, that money is for fish and wildlife habitat. Parks and trails have their own pot of money from the Legacy Amendment.

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