"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Representative Rick Hansen Plays Pork Barrel Politics With Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council Money!

Rick Hansen has been very busy with tax payer money lately. Despite the fact that our great state has a record budget deficit of nearly 5 billion dollars, Representative Hansen is busy dreaming up bazaar ways to spend money that is earmarked as dedicated outdoor funds.

On January 27th I wrote about Hansen's desire to spend a million bucks on dog parks. You can read it here,

Now Rick is taking more heat from every angle for his latest desire to spend our tax dollars frivolously. Today several newspaper articles hit the news stands to point out his antics and the ire of the outdoor community. This morning I drank my coffee and read the article by Chris Niskanen in the Pioneer Press. But I did not realize the full affect of his folly until I received an email from Sportsmen for Change, the organization that fought for the Outdoor Amendment that was passed on last years ballot.

We as voters were sold as advertised an amendment to our State Constitution that would give us clean water and more land to hunt and this is what the majority of Minnesota voters believed they were voting for. Now we have Hansen at the Capitol writing bills to create dog parks and map easements!

But wait, there's more! Hansen wants to use the dedicated outdoor money to fund the Minnesota Conservation Corp in the hope of creating jobs which is outside the legal scope of how the constitutional amendment was written.

Today Chris Niskanen writes,

Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, recently introduced a bill that would allocate $1 million from the Outdoor Heritage Fund to pay for the Minnesota Conservation Corps to map and monitor conservation projects. This is the sort of end-run legislative mischief that voters and outdoors folks have come to despise.

Read the rest of the story here,
Chris Niskanen: Outdoor fund is for habitat, not 'jobs program'

Dennis Anderson writes,

The kicker? Hansen and Gunther are among four legislators on the 12-member Lessard Council. Both were appointed by House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, whose chamber is quickly reducing itself to joke status among those who are paying attention.

Read the whole story here,

Doug Smith writes,

Wrote Nelson on the Conservation Minnesota website: "The intended purpose of the council was to insert the citizen voice into how habitat monies would be spent, with the hope that politics would play a reduced role in the disbursements of funds.

''By sidestepping the LOHC, Hansen's bill blows that notion to smithereens. Hansen's action, if allowed, would set a precedent that would effectively render the LOHC moot and feed the cynicism of citizens toward government. Lots of folks across the state would justifiably feel betrayed if the promise of the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council is gutted.''

Read the whole story here,

Here is an excerpt from an article published on the website TheAmendment.org,

The legislature established the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council and assigned the Council the responsibility of recommending projects to the legislature for funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. We on the Council presumed they meant it. Silly us.

Here’s what happened. A bill has been introduced in the State House that appropriates one million dollars out of the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The problem? Not only did the bill not originate from the Council, we knew nothing about its existence. The Council has not yet even begun hearing proposals. We begin that next week.

Bizarrely, Representative Rick Hansen, a member of the LOHC, is the bill’s chief author. Why did Rep. Hansen do what he did? I hope to learn the answer at our meeting, Monday, February 9. By totally bypassing the Council the action violates both the spirit and the intent of the statutory language establishing the Council.

The rest of the story,

Here you can read the amendment as written to our State Constitution,

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