by Nick Bade-Dodge, MUCC Policy Intern
With the conclusion of midterm elections last week, we are now entering a “lame duck” period in the legislature. This means that current bills still working their way through the legislature will have to be acted on or dropped before the next term begins. Therefore, there is bound to be movement within the legislature, meaning things will be picking up for bills regarding conservation. It is important to keep up with MUCC’s website for updates on the status of bills through our policy tracker and blog posts. Some bills of importance that are currently making their way through the legislature are:
SB 1090- Introduced by Senator Tom Casperson, this bill would require the DNR to stock inland lakes in certain counties with walleye “fingerlings”. The average stocking levels from 1985-2001 will be used in the necessary regions.
SB 926– Introduced by Senator Tom Casperson, this bill would prohibit the use of an aerial drone to interfere with or harass a person who is hunting. It is an expansion on the existing law that bans the harassment of hunters in general.
SB 927– Introduced by Senator Phil Pavlov, this bill prohibits the use of aerial drones by hunters to take game.
SB 1082- Introduced by Senator David Robertson, this bill would allow Drain Commissioner or Drainage Board to remove obstructions from non-drain watercourses if the obstruction causes harm for the area or drains around it.
HB 5709- Introduced by Representative Jim Stamas, this bill would establish that if the use of land owned by the Department of Natural Resources is subject to restrictions because of the source of money used to buy it, or to buy other land that was exchanged for the new DNR land, then the restrictions can only be imposed on a proportion of the land area that does not exceed the proportion of the restrictive funding used for the acquisition.
HB 5210- Introduced by Representative Wayne Schmidt, this bill would remove the arbitrary cap on the amount of public land the state can own. In addition, it would approve the DNR’s land acquisition and disposition strategy, requiring the DNR to consult with local units of government before acquiring or disposing of land within their jurisdiction.
HB 5226- This bill would expand the state law that authorizes special crop damage deer hunting permits to allow crop damage hunting permits for bears that are causing damage to crops or feed.
Keep an eye out on our website for updates on the status of these bills to see how they unfold with the lame duck period upon us. And to keep up on current House and Senate Bills, keep tabs with MUCC’s Policy Tracker.