By Scott Rall, Former member, Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, Worthington
It is with great sadness that I see Rod Hamilton (along with all Minnesota House Republicans) sign his name to the House version of the legacy bill. You claim to be a supporter of conservation and sportsmen. Your signature on this bill proves undisputably the opposite. The four different poison pills contained in this bill, all designed to end public land acquisitions, are so anti-hunting and anti-conservation that it literally screams the controlling party's complete and total disdain for a very large part of their constituency - that being the hunting and fishing community.
There has never been a time in my adult life where there is so much arrogance by one political party that seems intent on destroying everything the conservation community has worked so hard for over the past five decades. My efforts for the past 31 years on behalf of Pheasants Forever have resulted in access to public hunting lands for all people, regardless of their economic status. With the Republican support for a no-net gain policy, we could see this effort shut down completely in Minnesota. What, sir, is next? Will you and your party start the systematic sale of these lands until no more of them exist in our state? I don’t think even you can say that this would never happen with the current direction we are headed.
We have a large budget surplus, and still you are cutting the budget of the DNR and not allowing the conservation community to pay more to manage and protect our natural resources through a license fee increase. In addition, the diversion of millions of dollars from the Clean Water Fund to pay Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ operations budgets, which have historically been paid for from the general fund, shows that it’s obvious that the rule of law and the Minnesota constitutional amendment - which prohibits supplanting - means nothing to the Minnesota House Republican representatives.
If you are a sportsman, there is nothing left to do but despair. Hopefully the governor will veto your entire effort and give you time to come back to your senses next year.