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Minnesota Legislature

Amendments stall, leapfrog bills

Published (5/1/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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A controversial amendment to an omnibus bill approved by the House Finance Committee April 28 prompted the bill’s sponsor to ask for the bill to be laid over.

At the request of Rep. David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake), the committee laid over HF1238, the House Game, Fish and Forestry Division’s omnibus bill, which will stay with the Finance Committee until, as its sponsor, he requests that it be heard again. Dill was reacting to a 12-11 vote to approve Rep. Michael Paymar’s (DFL-St. Paul) amendment that would require background checks on people attempting to purchase a firearm at a gun show.

It would also require a licensed gun dealer to be on-site at shows. It defines a gun show as a place where 20 or more firearms are sold, and would make violations a gross misdemeanor.

Paymar said background checks have blocked 1.6 million firearm purchases by felons and others who are prohibited from owning them.

“I do not want this on my bill,” Dill said. He told Paymar that the amendment should have been its own bill and introduced in one of two House public safety committees where it would have had “an appropriate hearing.”

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder) said the amendment may be illegal based on two legal opinions.

The committee also approved an amendment that they had deleted from a different bill. The provision would rename a portion of the Northshore Trail as the C. J. Ramstad Memorial Trail.

“I think it was a mistake to take it out of Rep. Eken’s bill this morning,” said the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar).

Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Mpls) and Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) said there should be criteria established for naming trails. “We seem to have a propensity for naming everything after white men,” Greiling said.

Rep. Lyndon Carlson Sr. (DFL-Crystal), chairman of the committee, said the discussion about criteria was “in no way a reflection on this particular person.” Ramstad was a nationally known publisher of snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle articles who was killed in an automobile accident in 2007. The trail that would be named in his honor is used by snowmobilers.

The Senate companion, SF1116, awaits action by the Senate Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division and is sponsored by Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, (DFL-Fridley).

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