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Pawlenty shoots down game and fish bill

Charley Shaw//May 25, 2010

Pawlenty shoots down game and fish bill

Charley Shaw//May 25, 2010


Gov. Tim Pawlenty has rejected an omnibus bill that allowed anglers to use two lines on open water, appropriated money for a walk-in hunting program on private land and approved a bevy of land sales.

In his veto letter, Pawlenty said the bill “reflects legislative overreach” by adopting “arbitrary” hunting and fishing standards the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) opposes.

In particular, Pawlenty said charging fishermen $10 to fish with two lines wouldn’t pay off. The possession limits for people who buy the permit are cut in half.

“This provision was apparently developed to generate revenue, but without any evidence to support this belief,” Pawlenty wrote.

Pawlenty also singled out a provision that has made headlines in recent days. A provision intended to improve the walleye population on Fish Lake in northeastern Minnesota has generated controversy because Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, who owns a cabin on the lake, had the language inserted at the end of session.

“Again, there appears to be no fisheries management reason to require this and there are reports that this provision may have been improperly inserted into legislation,” Pawlenty wrote.

Despite the veto, Pawlenty wants the DNR to implement some parts of the bill.

The bill’s walk-in hunting program, which raised concerns during the session by agricultural groups, will instead be implemented administratively as a pilot program, Pawlenty said. Pawlenty has directed DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten to work out the details for a program that pays landowners to allow hunters onto their land. But there’s a funding issue to contend with. The bill appropriated $1.4 million from the Fish and Wildlife Fund to do a two-year, walk-in pilot program starting this fall in southwestern Minnesota.

In regards to several pages of land deals in the bill, Pawlenty said he wants Holsten to work with local government officials to figure out a way to handle the sales administratively.

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