Council would oversee $91.1 million annually in Game, Fish and Habitat Investments.
Bloomington, Minnesota – After months of intensive calls, letters, emails and comments from hunters, anglers, and sportsmen across Minnesota, the legislature has officially passed a Citizens-led and legislator council called the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council.
The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council is a key statutory provision that would oversee funds from the proposed Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November that would dedicate in part an estimated $91.1 million annually to game, fish and wildlife projects if approved by voters.
“This is one of the biggest victories for hunters and anglers in Minnesota’s history and would not have happened without the grassroots action of thousands of hunters, anglers and sportsmen from across the state,” said Garry Leaf executive director of Sportsmen for Change.
The amendment presented to voters this November calls for raising the state sales tax 3/8 of 1 percent. One third of the estimated $270 million annual amount would fund game, fish and wildlife habitat, one third would fund clean water projects, and the remaining third would be split among parks and trails, cultural heritage and the arts.
“As far as I’m concerned the key ingredient to this constitutional amendment is the council – which controls how the money is spent”. – Bud Grant, sportsmen and retired Vikings head coach.
Under the agreement, the 12-member council would include eight citizens and four legislators and other key provisions. Four citizens would be appointed by the governor and two each by the House and Senate. Hunters and anglers from across Minnesota have said the council was critical to ensure support among sportsmen and sportswomen for the amendment in November.
“The council was the right thing to do. Minnesota hunters and anglers needed o know that they’ll have a voice in how the sales tax revenue will be sent – and spent wisely.” – Ron Schara, sportsmen, outdoor enthusiast and TV host of “Minnesota Bound.”
The naming of the council was in recognition of Senator Bob Lessard’s lifelong advocacy for sportsmen and the outdoors, 26-year career in the Minnesota Senate and decade long effort to ensure a legacy for future generations of hunters and anglers.
The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council also would also create a matching grants program called Conservation Partners making available millions of dollars under which local, regional and national clubs, chapters and groups could get matching money for habitat projects in Minnesota.
“The establishment of the council and matching grants for local projects was critical for hunters and anglers to support the amendment. Its not about us it’s being able to leave a hunting and fishing legacy for future generations”. Said former Senator Bob Lessard, a driving force behind dedicated funding.
About Sportsmen for Change:
Sportsmen for Change | Outdoor Action: is a Minnesota based 501(c)(4) grassroots organization whose mission is pro-sportsmen’s issue education, legislation, advocacy and has over 10,000 online subscribers. On the Net: www.sportsmenforchange.org