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A proposal to increase hunting and fishing license fees on Tuesday afternoon ran headlong into a wall on the Senate floor. The Republican chairman of the Senate environment committee accused DFLers of scuttling the legislation for political purposes.

Hunting and fishing license fee hike sinks in MN Senate

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

A proposal to increase hunting and fishing license fees  ran headlong into a wall on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.

The Senate assembled a game-and-fish bill that proposed hikes in license fees in order to prevent the Game and Fish Fund from falling into deficit, as is projected to happen by July 2013.

Instead of voting on its bill today, the Senate took up the House’s game and fish bill, which passed before the Easter/Passover recess. The license fee increases were controversial among some House members and weren’t included in their bill.

Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, attempted to amend the license fee increases into the House bill. Republicans and DFLers both dissented and voted down the amendment 39-27. The bill was then quickly tabled.

Ingebrigtsen accused Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, of playing politics on the matter.

“The minority leader basically sabotaged the bill because he wants to go out there and say we’re not getting anything done. And we’re going to do that over hunting and fishing and wolf legislation that the governor’s office wants,” Ingebrigtsen said.

Twenty-two DFLers voted against the amendment, along with 17 Republicans.

The development potentially throws off the legislative strategy to deal with the issue in conference committee.

Bakk was angered that the bill didn’t include conservation licenses, which he had previously championed. However, Ingebrigtsen said he would have supported the licenses from Bakk as a floor amendment.

Among the senators who dissented on the amendment was Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook. He said he opposed raising revenue for hunting and fishing if money wasn’t also being raised for K-12 education and property tax relief.

“I’m not opposed to raising some revenue,” Skoe said. “And if we’re going to do it for fish and the DNR, we’re going to do it for property tax relief and schools too.”

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