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Minnesota Legislature

Vetoed: ATV definitions kill outdoors bill

Published (7/15/2011)
By Sue Hegarty
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Proposed changes to how all-terrain vehicles would be classified for licensing sparked a veto of the omnibus game and fish bill by Gov. Mark Dayton. “Polaris and Arctic Cat employ over 4,000 Minnesotans and generate more than $2 billion into the state’s economy. The provisions in this legislation that modify the definitions of Class 1/Class 2 ATVs will have a detrimental impact on these job providers,” Dayton wrote in his veto letter.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) sponsored the measures.

Hackbarth said a small percentage of ATV trails are designed for smaller machines but that some of the larger, multi-rider machines are being manufactured to fit into the smaller class category, which can lead to increased trail damage on the trails designated for smaller machines. After a stakeholder group had reached consensus on classification rules, Hackbarth amended the language. (Secs. 11-13)

“I hope the Legislature will reconsider the stakeholder recommendations,” Dayton continued.

Dayton also hoped legislators could find a compromise on the number of northern pike experimental and special management lakes. The bill would have required the Department of Natural Resources to reduce the number of designated lakes with enhanced regulations from 119 to 90, which the DNR opposed. (Sec. 57)

The governor also objected to a section of the bill that would have opened Cass Lake to spearing by those other than tribal nations. It also would have prohibited spearing restrictions of northern pike, “which may diminish the quality of northern pike fishery,” Dayton wrote.

An agricultural-related provision would have included harvested cornfields in the definition of a pasture. This would have enabled livestock farmers to let cattle graze in the cornfield without a feedlot permit.

“Changing the state’s definition of pasturing … would be counter to the federal requirement that these facilities be subject to permit if their animals are confined in one location for a long time,” Dayton wrote.

Also held up due to the veto are proposed regulations:

• compensating farmers for fence damage caused by elk;

• requiring revised inspection and other standards for fish and bait;

• adding the gray wolf to the definition of small game and eliminating the five-year waiting period for a gray wolf season following federal delisting;

• amending the definition of an “undressed bird”;

• adding dead animals to the definition of “wild animals”;

• making it a gross misdemeanor to take big game during the time a person is prohibited from obtaining a big game license;

• allowing the commissioner to give Purple Heart medal recipients and those with a service-connected disability rated at

100 percent certain hunting and fishing license preferences;

• allowing motorists who hit and kill a deer first right to keep the animal;

• allowing a certified nurse practitioner or certified physician assistant to certify a visually impaired hunter to use a scope or a disabled hunter to use a crossbow or to shoot from a vehicle;

• eliminating deer stand height restrictions;

• authorizing road authorities to kill beavers that disrupt roadways and enabling counties or townships to set a bounty on coyotes;

• restricting the DNR’s ability to establish antler point restrictions for Series 300 deer hunt areas; and

• authorizing Lutsen Ski Resort to take more than 2 million gallons of water per day from the Poplar River.

HF984/ SF943*/CH111

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