Anderson: Citizens needed for Legacy Amendment oversight

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 7:30 AM

A legislative audit of Legacy Amendment spending correctly endorses nonpoliticians in shaping fund goals.

Reports released Wednesday by the legislative auditor contained no surprises for those who have paid close attention to debates and discussion that preceded and followed the 2008 approval by state voters of the Legacy Amendment.

Short story: The method by which money is expended from the Outdoor Heritage Fund -- the fish, game and wildlife portion of Legacy money -- is accessible, transparent and, through the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, "provides oversight of the appropriations on an ongoing basis," according to the auditor.

The Lessard-Sams council recommends projects to the Legislature most likely to help fulfill habitat goals of a 25-year conservation framework.

Yet even before the council was established in state statute in the run-up to the 2008 Legacy Amendment vote, a handful of legislators, notably Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, attacked it.

When hunters and anglers proposed formation of the council to safeguard the Outdoor Heritage Fund from legislators, Hansen insisted he and his Capitol colleagues were better suited to spend the money.

If citizens wanted to take part, "they should get an election certificate" -- meaning run for office -- Hansen said. Since then, he has advocated for the council to be disbanded, even though, ironically, he was one of its original members.

But the state's hunters and anglers -- the primary drivers behind the 2008 Legacy vote that increased the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent -- had been fooled previously by legislators and weren't about to let it happen again.

The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, for example, supported by proceeds from the state lottery, was raided not long after the ink dried on the constitutional amendment establishing it.

And until the legislative committee that recommends expenditures from it was modified in recent years to include citizens, the account was considered by some observers to be little more than a slush fund into which senators and representatives dipped to send money to their home districts.

Indeed, had not the Legislature been convinced to establish the Lessard-Sams Council in statute, it's likely many, if not most, hunters and anglers would have voted against the Legacy Amendment. As it happened, nearly 60 percent of voters supported it, a landslide.

At issue since its passage is whether citizen council members should in any way be aligned with conservation or other groups that receive council funding recommendations.

The common-sense answer is: Of course. It's they who have the expertise, experience, knowledge and passion to properly direct fund expenditures.

Such valued council members, past and present, include, among others, University of Minnesota professor Mike Kilgore, Nobles County Pheasants Forever chapter president Scott Rall and retired Star Tribune outdoors columnist and TV personality Ron Schara.

These Minnesotans, like others who have served or now serve on the council, have strong conservation ethics and give freely of their time in hopes the state's wetlands might someday be restored, its remaining prairies preserved, its forests kept whole, and to ensure as well that the many recreational opportunities these lands and waters afford to residents be sustained indefinitely.

I'm not alone in defense of such volunteers in oversight positions of Legacy Amendment money. Here's what the legislative auditor's report says on the subject:

"We accept that there is value to the state in having people on Legacy-related groups who are knowledgeable about and committed to the public purposes supported by the Legacy Amendment. We acknowledge that they are likely to have relationships and affiliations that will create at least the appearance of conflicts. While some people find that inappropriate and unacceptable, we think the best resolution is for the state to maintain strong conflict of interest policies and ... vigorously adhere to them."

Short story (made a little longer): If you're a hunter, angler or other conservationist who voted for the Legacy Amendment, processes and safeguards are in place to optimize chances money for fish, game and wildlife habitat is being well-allocated, and that improvements to the state, over time, will follow.

Dennis Anderson danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 3 1st Qtr 9:31
New York 2
Portland 6:00 PM
New Orleans
Utah 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Atlanta 7:00 PM
Houston
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 8:00 PM
Denver
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Arizona 3:00 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Carolina
Chicago 6:00 PM
Columbus
Nashville 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Calgary 9:00 PM
Vancouver
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 41 2nd Half 15:36
Cincinnati 25
Charlotte 35 2nd Half 17:48
Georgetown 45
SMU 37 2nd Half 16:44
Michigan 29
Louisville 29 2nd Half 19:47
Western Ky 24
Mount St Marys 9 1st Half 14:53
American Univ 4
Abilene Christian 0 1st Half 14:50
Boise State 11
UMass Lowell 7 1st Half 14:34
Duquesne 10
South Alabama 0 1st Half 17:19
IUPUI 6
Ohio State 5 1st Half 15:48
North Carolina 11
Massachusetts 4 1st Half 16:44
Providence 5
Syracuse 4 1st Half 18:12
Villanova 2
Citadel 4 1st Half 15:54
Virginia Tech 5
Belmont 12:30 PM
Fairfield
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Montreat 1:00 PM
Campbell
Delaware 1:00 PM
Fair-Dickinson
South Florida 1:00 PM
Florida State
Vanderbilt 1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
SC State 1:00 PM
Houston
Missouri 1:00 PM
Illinois
Truett-McConnell 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Toledo 1:00 PM
McNeese State
Elon 1:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Drexel 1:00 PM
Penn State
St Francis-PA 1:00 PM
Rutgers
Albany 1:00 PM
Yale
PSU-Beaver 1:00 PM
Longwood
Eastern Ill 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Indiana 1:30 PM
Butler
Marshall 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Kansas
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
Memphis
Western Mich 2:00 PM
Northwestern
Delaware State 2:00 PM
Oregon
Fla Atlantic 2:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Arkansas Tech 2:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Howard Payne 2:00 PM
Texas-Arlington
UMBC 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
St Josephs (IN) 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Eastern Mich 2:05 PM
Missouri State
UCLA 2:30 PM
Kentucky
UC Davis 3:00 PM
Air Force
Houston Baptist 3:00 PM
UC Riverside
Davidson 3:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
USC Upstate 3:00 PM
Miss State
NC Central 3:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Illinois State 3:00 PM
Murray State
Louisiana 3:00 PM
Northwestern St
Oakland 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 3:00 PM
Rhode Island
Presbyterian 3:00 PM
UT Martin
Monmouth 3:00 PM
Wagner
Southern U 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Iowa State 4:00 PM
Drake
Wake Forest 4:00 PM
Florida
High Point 4:00 PM
James Madison
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Michigan State
New Hampshire 4:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Northeastern 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Huston-Tillotson 4:00 PM
Texas State
Purdue 4:15 PM
Notre Dame
Prairie View 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Xavier 5:00 PM
Auburn
Bluffton 6:00 PM
Akron
NJIT 6:00 PM
Central Conn St
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Columbia
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Dayton
Iona 6:00 PM
George Mason
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Texas A&M 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Morgan State 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Saint Josephs 6:00 PM
Marist
East Carolina 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Richmond 6:00 PM
Pepperdine
La Salle 6:00 PM
Towson
Incarnate Word 6:05 PM
UMKC
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Long Beach State 7:00 PM
Texas
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
TCU
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Arkansas
Lehigh 8:00 PM
Arizona State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Washington
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Weber State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
St Edwards 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
NC State 8:30 PM
West Virginia
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Pacific
Montana State 9:00 PM
Portland
Ball State 9:00 PM
San Diego St
South Dakota St 9:05 PM
Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
BYU
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
Nevada 3 4th Qtr
Louisiana 10
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Livingstone 38 2nd Half 19:28
UNC Greensboro 42
Loyola-Chicago 32 2nd Half 20:00
Dartmouth 27
Georgia Tech 29 2nd Half 15:28
St Francis-NY 28
Auburn 33 2nd Half 14:00
St Johns 40
East Tenn St 31 2nd Half 14:55
Jacksonville St 25
Western Mich 42 2nd Half 15:51
Detroit 29
Cal-Irvine 29 2nd Half 13:24
Wright State 55
Gardner-Webb 29 2nd Half 12:48
Kennesaw St 33
(7) Stanford 0 1st Half 15:45
(11) Tennessee 4
Alabama A&M 4 1st Half 15:45
Ole Miss 13
Central Michigan 0 1st Half 20:00
(1) South Carolina 0
Nebraska Omaha 10 1st Half 16:25
Creighton 5
FIU 0 1st Half 20:00
Western Carolina 0
Houston 9 1st Half 12:00
Nicholls 11
St Thomas Aquinas 5 1st Half 15:55
Army 5
St Bonaventure 4 1st Half 18:36
Niagara 0
Texas State 5 1st Half 16:00
Stetson 10
George Mason 12:05 PM
ULM
Grambling 1:00 PM
Kansas State
Missouri 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Robert Morris 1:00 PM
Cornell
Air Force 1:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Hampton 1:00 PM
James Madison
American Univ 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Texas Southern 1:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Tenn Tech 1:00 PM
NC A&T
Presbyterian 1:00 PM
NC Central
Penn 1:00 PM
Drexel
Lipscomb 1:00 PM
Xavier
Vermont 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Charleston Southern 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Ohio Christian 1:00 PM
Akron
Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Murray State
(17) Rutgers 1:00 PM
Iona
Indiana 1:00 PM
Oakland
Indiana State 1:30 PM
SMU
Denver 1:30 PM
Purdue
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
UCF 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Campbell 2:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Florida A&M 2:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Northwestern St 2:00 PM
Jackson State
Lehigh 2:00 PM
Arizona State
Valparaiso 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Toledo 2:00 PM
Southern Ill
Liberty 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Wofford 2:30 PM
North Florida
Montana State 3:00 PM
Washington St
Marshall 3:00 PM
(22) West Virginia
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Chattanooga
Northeastern 3:00 PM
Harvard
Furman 3:00 PM
(15) Georgia
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Ohio U 3:00 PM
Massachusetts
Prairie View 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
High Point 3:00 PM
(12) Nebraska
Winthrop 3:05 PM
Wichita State
William Jewell 3:30 PM
UMKC
Louisiana Tech 4:00 PM
Utah
Southern Utah 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Hawaii 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Jose St 4:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Northridge 4:00 PM
San Diego State
Norfolk State 4:00 PM
East Carolina
Saint Peters 4:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Arizona 4:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Northwestern 4:30 PM
Eastern Illinois
Oral Roberts 5:00 PM
Wisconsin
Florida Atlantic 5:00 PM
New Mexico St
La Salle 5:00 PM
Georgia State
(16) Oregon State 5:30 PM
Nevada
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Villanova
Delaware 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Pacific 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Austin Peay 9:00 PM
Montana
Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
Idaho
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close