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Moe appointed to omnibus fish and game conference committee

ST. PAUL -- Assistant House Majority Leader Frank Moe was appointed this week to the omnibus fish and game conference committee, he announces.

The key difference between House and Senate versions is the make-up of a citizens council which will advise the Legislature on how to spend about $91 million in habitat funding if a constitutional amendment passes before voters this fall, said Moe, DFL-Bemidji.

The amendment asks voters to dedicate an additional portion of the state sales tax to outdoors and cultural heritage activities.

The constitution amendment would increase the sales tax three-eights of 1 percent, raising about $270 million a year, Moe said. Two-thirds of the money would be set aside for fish and wildlife habitat and clean water, with the remainder split among parks and trails and cultural heritage.

Moe was the original author of a bill to create a council made up of citizens and legislators that would recommend how the fish and wildlife habitat money should be spent.

"I think our bill offers more citizens the chance to participate, more opportunity to decide how the money will be spent and includes more conflict-of-interest accountability to make sure the money is going to the projects that deserve it the most," Moe said.

The bill also includes a provision to increase walleye stocking on Leech Lake, he added, with the state Department of Natural Resources wanting to pause stocking to study stocking results.

"The provision will ensure that Leech Lake continues its recovery and stock the lake as long as it's needed," Moe said. That measure has been pushed by Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker.