Anderson: Council's advice needs to be heeded

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 15, 2013 - 7:24 AM

Citizens' voice can get lost when legislators covet Legacy Act money.

Electing not to consider too seriously the early musings of the Minnesota House of Representatives is good policy, session to session. To do otherwise invites teeth gnashing, if not fear that one of the wacky ideas this bunch bats around in its initial deliberations will become law.

That said, the meanderings of Rep. Phyllis Kahn's House Legacy Committee are worthy of mention, even now in February. The responsibility of Kahn's panel is to review and ultimately pass on to the House floor funding recommendations for the arts, clean water, parks and trails, and wildlife habitat stemming from passage of the Legacy Act by voters in 2008.

As originally conceived by sportsmen and sportswomen, the Legacy Act would boost the state sales tax fractionally, attempting with the proceeds to repair a state whose wetlands, prairies, shallow lakes and forests over time had been sold to the highest bidders. Handmaidens to this skullduggery, oftentimes, were legislators themselves.

So it went for generations until hunters, anglers and other outdoors types joined in 2008 with arts, parks and trails supporters to bypass the Legislature and take their case directly to the people. Minnesotans, it was believed, would vote to tax themselves if given a chance to support what they held most dear.

Which they did. But not without a promise made concurrently by Legacy Act supporters, namely that the third of funds dedicated to fish, game and wildlife habitat would be overseen by a council dominated by citizens.

Legislators, after all, had previously usurped monies assigned to the environment (see funds tied to lottery ticket sales), and giving these same lawmakers unfettered access to so much new cash could invite similar shenanigans.

Thus was born the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, a 12-member group comprised of eight citizens and four legislators. Variously composed since its inception in December 2008 with members serving staggered terms, the council is government at its best, largely because of the apolitical interests of its citizen members, whose fundamental concerns lie not with backroom dealing and vote-trading, but with the environment.

Return now again to the House Legacy committee, whose chair, Kahn, has stressed on more than one occasion that the work of the Lessard-Sams Council amounts only to a recommendation about how to spend nearly $100 million in the next fiscal year -- this while acknowledging she has not recently attended a council meeting to see firsthand how it works.

"At all times, we must remember that their recommendations are just that," she has said. Context here is important, because proponents of two projects the council rejected are attempting, in an end-around, to have Kahn and her committee fund them nonetheless.

The first spurned project is little more than a brazen attempt by metro parks folks to dip into the Outdoor Heritage Fund to the tune of $6.3 million, under the guise of improving wildlife habitat on property under their administration.

Rejected for good reason by the Lessard-Sams Council, this undertaking, assuming it has merit, should be paid for by the parks and trails fund created by the Legacy Act, not the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

The second rejected project is less clear-cut, because the land and water in question are probably worthy of acquisition. But because the property would be owned by the Fond du Lac band of Chippewa, which is independent in key ways from the state, its conservation and control ultimately would lie, or could lie, apart from the state. What's more, because lands acquired with the Outdoor Heritage Fund must be open to hunting, and because many state Chippewa bands forbade wolf hunting on their lands, its purchase is problematic.

Yet notwithstanding the specific qualifications of these or other projects, the greater concern for the state, and for voters who approved the Legacy Act, is that money flowing from the Outdoor Heritage Fund for fish, game and wildlife habitat be fundamentally funneled through the Lessard-Sams Council, acting on behalf of the citizenry.

The Senate so far has abided by this pact, however implicit, and will again this session. Similarly, Gov. Mark Dayton and, before him, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, have left the council's recommendations fairly untouched. Dayton, in fact, has publicly pledged to sportsmen and sportswomen not to change the council's recommendations.

Kahn, for her part, insists her motives are well-intentioned, and that she wants only to ensure maximum efficiency of Legacy Act expenditures.

Let's say that's true.

Let's say also that in coming sessions she and other members of her committee resume their funding deliberations by showing they actually understand the work, effort and reasoning of the Lessard-Sams Council -- reminding themselves in the process why voters approved the Legacy Act in the first place.

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 99 FINAL
New York 90
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 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
Syracuse 73 1st OT 1:50
Villanova 74
Citadel 61 FINAL
Virginia Tech 64
Belmont 73 FINAL
Fairfield 61
St Bonaventure 57 2nd Half 5:47
Binghamton 42
Montreat 45 2nd Half 6:28
Campbell 76
Delaware 57 2nd Half 8:33
Fair-Dickinson 58
South Florida 42 2nd Half 10:55
Florida State 50
Vanderbilt 49 2nd Half 5:54
Georgia Tech 51
SC State 52 2nd Half 7:32
Houston 47
Missouri 43 2nd Half 10:51
Illinois 44
Truett-McConnell 41 2nd Half 9:52
Jacksonville 65
Toledo 81 2nd Half 2:45
McNeese State 66
Elon 49 2nd Half 11:07
UNC Greensboro 42
Drexel 36 2nd Half 7:56
Penn State 56
St Francis-PA 61 2nd Half 9:44
Rutgers 52
Albany 58 2nd Half 3:32
Yale 56
PSU-Beaver 47 2nd Half 7:48
Longwood 87
Eastern Ill 44 2nd Half 8:06
Indiana State 40
Indiana 38 2nd Half
Butler 38
Marshall 24 1st Half 7:26
Arkansas State 18
Lafayette 14 1st Half 7:20
Kansas 28
Oral Roberts 12 1st Half 9:18
Memphis 22
Western Mich 17 1st Half 7:44
Northwestern 11
Delaware State 11 1st Half 6:57
Oregon 28
Fla Atlantic 23 1st Half 3:19
St Francis-NY 19
Arkansas Tech 20 1st Half 6:37
Stephen F Austin 31
Howard Payne 17 1st Half 5:18
Texas-Arlington 30
UMBC 27 1st Half 5:12
Kennesaw St 26
St Josephs (IN) 12 1st Half 10:47
Chicago State 12
Eastern Mich 20 1st Half 5:32
Missouri State 18
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 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 7 2nd Qtr 5:10
Texas-El Paso 3
(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
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
Alabama A&M 47 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Central Michigan 45 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 80
Nebraska Omaha 50 FINAL
Creighton 67
FIU 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 33 2nd Half 7:28
Kansas State 53
Missouri 51 2nd Half 9:53
Wake Forest 47
Robert Morris 49 2nd Half 5:19
Cornell 54
Air Force 31 2nd Half 7:45
Abilene Christian 65
Hampton 40 2nd Half 9:14
James Madison 61
American Univ 52 2nd Half 7:32
MD-Eastern Shore 42
Texas Southern 46 2nd Half 11:57
TX A&M-CC 40
Tenn Tech 40 2nd Half 6:13
NC A&T 48
Presbyterian 41 2nd Half 1:47
NC Central 33
Penn 53 2nd Half 4:17
Drexel 56
Lipscomb 31 2nd Half 1:59
Xavier 57
Vermont 36 2nd Half 8:27
Green Bay 43
Charleston Southern 32 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 43
Ohio Christian 60 2nd Half 0:50
Akron 95
Jacksonville 47 2nd Half 8:32
Murray State 62
(17) Rutgers 51 2nd Half 6:33
Iona 49
Indiana 80 2nd Half 3:28
Oakland 56
Indiana State 37 2nd Half
SMU 17
Denver 24 2nd Half 20:00
Purdue 28
Toledo 2:00 PM
Southern Ill
TX-San Antonio 6 1st Half 12:50
Texas Tech 5
UCF 16 1st Half 5:35
Middle Tennessee 32
Campbell 15 1st Half 13:33
Bethune-Cookman 11
Florida A&M 25 1st Half 5:32
SE Louisiana 17
Northwestern St 16 1st Half 7:19
Jackson State 10
Lehigh 21 1st Half 3:59
Arizona State 36
Valparaiso 9 1st Half 13:20
SIU-Edwardsville 6
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