Auditor Releases Report on Board of Animal Health Oversight of Cervidae Farms
When lawmakers returned to work Monday they will have 28 days until the constitutional deadline for the Legislature to adjourn.
With Senate and House Floor sessions likely Monday through Thursday next week - and maybe Friday - and regular committees winding down their work, long floor debates, the probable start of conference committee meetings and less predictable schedules is about to begin.
MDHA and Natural Resources Action:
Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Bill
The omnibus environment and natural resources finance bill cleared its first hurdle Thursday as the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committee approved HF3502, including a delete-all amendment, after two days of discussion and testimony.
Sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau), the bill would make a number of policy changes and appropriate $750,000 to address chronic wasting disease. Several amendments were adopted before a split-voice vote to approve the package which next goes to the House Ways and Means Committee. The companion, SF3141, is sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) and awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.
MDHA provisions of intertest include:
Office of Legiclation Auditions (OLA) Report on
Board of Animal Health's Oversight of Deer and Elk Farms
The Board of Animal Health is responsible for protecting the health of Minnesota's domestic animals, including farmed deer and elk. The OLA study found that the board has failed to enforce some laws related to deer and elk farms, and made several recommendations for improvement. Additionally, OLA found that the board has a strained relationship with the Department of Natural Resources (which manages wild deer and elk), and recommended that the two agencies draft a memorandum of understanding to facilitate communication and data sharing.
Bill Tracking: Again, this year I would encourage the membership to follow MDHA legislative bills of interest utilizing MyBills. MyBills allows you view bills MDHA is tracking in the House and Senate by bill number. When you log in, you will be shown alerts for the bills MDHA has selected that have had, or have upcoming, action. To access MyBills visit www.leg.state.mn.us/mybills/login enter username MDHA2017-18 then enter password MDHA2017-18.
Other Legislative Action and FYI: (The following items do not reflect any MDHA legislative positions and are for your information only)
Outdoor Heritage Fund
Lawmakers hope to use $142.1 million of Legacy funds to enhance thousands of acres of land, protect clean water and fund arts and culture projects across the state.
Sponsored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), HF4167, as amended, would appropriate money from three of the four Legacy Funds, which were created by the Legacy Amendment in 2008, to benefit the state's natural and cultural resources.
The House Legacy Funding Finance Committee approved the omnibus legacy finance bill Monday and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee. Its companion, SF3403, sponsored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point), is awaiting action by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee.
The bill would appropriate $113.9 million in Fiscal Year 2019 to protect, enhance and restore about 102,000 acres of wildlife habitat across the state. The money would fund 47 programs, as recommended by the council.
The bill proposes spending $65 million to protect 18,357 acres, $22.6 million to enhance 77,835 acres, and $14.2 million to restore 5,733 acres. Of the spending, 43 percent would be used on prairie land, 31 percent would be dedicated to wildlife habitats, 16 percent would affect wetlands and 10 percent would go to forests.
The proposal includes the Minnesota Moose Habitat Collaborative - Phase III for $1,938,000. The Collaborative will be improving nearly 10,000 acres of foraging habitat for moose in northeast Minnesota. The project builds on the Collaborative's previous efforts to enhance forest habitat by increasing stand complexity and production while maintaining thermal components of the landscape with variable enhancement methods.