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Minnesota Legislature

Shutdown wouldn’t stop license flow

Published (2/24/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Minnesota hunters and anglers would be able to buy game and fish licenses electronically during a government shutdown if HF2343 becomes law.

Sponsored by Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker), the bill was presented Feb. 21 to the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. It will be considered for inclusion in a committee omnibus bill.

The legislation is a response to the 2011 state government shutdown, after the House and Senate could not agree on a two-year budget with Gov. Mark Dayton. State services unavailable during the 21-day shutdown included purchasing fishing and hunting licenses.

“This is the third bill like this that would accommodate failure (to pass a budget),” said Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul). He said a simpler solution would be to solve differences during session and avoid a shutdown.

Bob Meier, assistant commissioner for policy and government relations with the Department of Natural Resources, said passing HF2343 is important because it maintains cash flow even if the government shuts down.

Meier cited July and August, the first two months of Minnesota’s fiscal year, when the DNR typically sells a total of $8.5 million of hunting and fishing licenses. The bill would not change the per-transaction electronic license purchase fee of $3.50.

Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd) sponsors the companion, SF1911, which awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

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