For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Apparently the DFL does not care about the future of Lake Mille Lacs or openness in government negotiations because on March 10th DFL leaders pulled HF42, a bill that required technical meetings between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ojibwe bands and the Great Lake Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission be subject to the state’s open meeting law.
DFL leadership took the bill off the schedule just 24 hours before it was to be heard in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. This was disrespectful to the testifiers from the Lake Mille Lacs area who had made arrangements to come to St. Paul to speak in favor of the bill. In addition, the bill was pulled without any objection from DFLer Rep. Joe Radinovich who represents half of the lake with me. Where is his concern about honoring the open meeting law of our state?
HF42 would apply the state's open meeting law to certain treaty-related meetings involving the Department of Natural Resources, Ojibwe Bands, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding 1837 treaty rights. The bill would also require that up to five members of the Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group be allowed to attend these meetings.
Thousands of people in our community rely on Lake Mille Lacs and are impacted by decisions made by these stakeholders, and I believe they should have access to the meetings that decide many important Lake Mille Lacs issues; thus the meetings should be open and transparent.
It's important that meetings involving the 1837 treaty take place with public input in an open, transparent process rather than behind closed doors. It's not unreasonable to expect that these meetings involving the DNR and other groups be subject to the same open meetings law we as legislators, as well as dozens of other state and local officials across Minnesota, are subject to under Minnesota law.
Minnesotans is a state that prides itself on civic involvement and good government. This is a common sense piece of legislation that would make Lake Mille Lacs issues more open to the citizens who live near Lake Mille Lacs and are impacted by critical decisions made by the DNR, Ojibwe Bands, and other stakeholders, and ensure that decisions aren't being made out of the public eye.
I urge you to contact Speaker Paul Thissen (651-296-5375, email@example.com) Majority Leader Erin Murphy (651-296-5507, firstname.lastname@example.org), and Environment and Natural Resources Chair David Dill (651-296-2190, email@example.com), and ask them to do the right thing by hearing this bill and allow it to move through the process so we can continue Minnesota's proud tradition of open and transparent government.
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