Skip to comments.Republican House approves game and fish bill(MN)
Posted on 04/09/2012 7:17:17 AM PDT by marktwain
The Republican House Tuesday passed its omnibus game and fish bill, but not before lengthy debate on shooting ranges, venison donation and gray wolves.
One provision in Rep. Tom Hackbarths (R-Cedar) bill stipulates that publicly funded shooting ranges must be available four times a year for use by youths enrolled in firearm safety training gun ranges at prisons were excluded and range operators under the bill could charge fees.
But a number of lawmakers, including a Republican, criticized the provision.
It just creates another problem for our cities, said Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka.
A Rochester Democrat explained that one of her local law enforcement agencies spoke of a $500,000 cost for making a local gun range suitable for use by youngsters.
Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, warned that some government facilities, and the training that occurred in them, legitimately should be closed to the public.
Beyond this, some neighborhoods dont like the gun ranges to begin with. Having them used by youngsters will only intensify this dislike, Lenczewski argued.
If its so important why doesnt the state help fund it, said Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, speaking in support of removing the shooting range provision.
Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said there was a nearby gun club for young people in Delano, other youngsters may not be so fortunate.
So this is a great thing for the youths, he said.
Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, House environment committee chairman, defended the gun range provision.
If its going to cost $500,000 for gun safety training classes in Rochester to use a range a dollar amount Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, a chief of police, found preposterous then the local training classes might be willing to drive to a different range, said McNamara.
The attempt to remove the gun range provision failed on a 61 to 70 vote.
Another provision drawing lengthy debate dealt with the proposed elimination of the states venison donation program.
The program, first funded by the Legislature in 2007 through surcharges on some deer hunting licenses and donations, allows hunters to donate deer for processing and distribution to the needy through local food shelves.
In 2010 state hunters donated 556 deer, providing 19,725 pounds of processed venison to food shelves.
But concerns about lead bullet fragments in venison and the potential health risk they pose resulted in state officials X-raying donated venison at the cost of $3.87 a pound, Hackbarth explained.
Besides redirecting venison donation funding to a walk-in access program providing public access to private lands, Hackbarth also in his bill removed state oversight of venison donated to charity.
Thats the way venison used to be donated, Hackbarth argued.
Thats what I want to get back to, he said. Keep the State of Minnesota out of it.
Food shelves would be free to accept the venison or not, he argued.
Dayton Administration officials, including Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr and Department of Agriculture Commissioner David Frederickson, in a letter to Hackbarth and McNamara, spoke against exempting venison from food safety standards.
Food safety is a serious concern, and Minnesota cannot become an island among states with exemptions to the food code. Moreover, leaving venison exempt from all oversight means that Minnesotans using food shelves many of whom are children may be exposed to adulterated venison and the resulting health effects of lead poisoning, the letter read in part.
On the House floor a number of Democratic lawmakers also spoke out against the provision.
We dont have a time machine in the (House) well where you can go back in time, said Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul.
The information concerning lead and venison is known, Hansen argued.
Food shelves do not want donated venison without a third party signing off to its safety, he said.
Minnesota Deer Hunters Association officials have indicated they do not want the venison donation program scrapped. But if it is, they want program funding, mainly derived from deer hunters, they argue, to be used to benefit deer hunters.
Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, who offered an amendment to remove the venison donation provisions from the bill, argued Hackbarth was not abiding by the wishes of the association.
But Persells amendment failed on a 61 to 70 vote.
Another provision in the bill drawing comment related to the proposed gray wolf trapping and hunting season for this fall.
We are way overpopulated with wolves, said Hackbarth.
Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, spoke of a farmer near Lancaster, west of Roseau, losing 24 calves one spring to wolves and of turkey ranchers losing a hundred turkeys at a time.
In some areas wolf tracks are more common than deer tracks in the woods, he said.
But Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, asked Hackbarth whether he had spoken to Native Americans about the wolf legislation Hackbarth indicated he hadnt.
Gauthier suggested that greater sensitivity should be shown to the religious beliefs of others. And the wolf has religious significance to Native Americans, he explained.
One Democratic provision that was amended into the bill was offered by Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, changing the date of the May 12 fishing opener to May 5.
Dill cited the unusually warm weather and advanced spring as an opportunity to get people out.
He did not intend to permanently move the fishing opener ahead, but merely for this year, Dill explained.
Dill described it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Hackbarths bill passed the House on a 82 to 49 vote.
Because it’s training kids in how to use guns!
This one is a great example...
“But concerns about lead bullet fragments in venison and the potential health risk they pose resulted in state officials X-raying donated venison at the cost of $3.87 a pound, Hackbarth explained.”
If the idiots think it is that much of a problem they could require it of all processed game.
That way they could end hunting in the state and massively raise taxes to pay the hundreds of $millions now funded by sportsmen. No more Fed Pittman Roberts funds for MN.
When that tax bill showed up on the state residents tax form the DFL(Dumb F’in Liberal) party would be just a footnote in history.