Why It Matters: In policymaking, omnibus legislation is the result of compromise between legislators from different parties and the legislative chambers advocation for a wide range of priorities. As Minnesota legislators negotiated the final version of the natural resource omnibus bill, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) remained engaged with legislators to ensure that the best possible result was achieved for sportsmen and women in the State.
- House File 2310, the Minnesota Environment, Natural Resources, Climate, and Energy Finance & Policy omnibus bill, was packed with 434 pages of language that ran the gamut of topics, including many relevant to sportsmen and women.
- CSF worked throughout the 2023 legislative session to both support and oppose respective sections that could have potentially been included in the omnibus bill, ultimately excluding multiple sections of harmful language from the final version and succeeding in securing other, pro-sportsmen language.
- Although the 2023 legislative session in Minnesota has concluded with much to celebrate for sportsmen and women, CSF will continue to advocate for our time-honored traditions by engaging on potential regulatory proposals while preparing for the legislature to reconvene next year.
Sportsmen and women in Minnesota had a vested interest in the final version of Minnesota HF 2310, as the legislature was considering the inclusion of multiple provisions that would have negatively affected our time-honored traditions. In omnibus legislation, what is excluded from the bill can be equally as important as what is ultimately included, and CSF succeeded in securing favorable outcomes on both fronts. Following the Governor signing the bill into law, here are some important highlights:
- Crossbows may be used during big-game archery seasons, regardless of age. The culmination of a multi-year effort to fully incorporate crossbows into archery season, CSF crafted and supported the language included in the bill. Previously, crossbows could only be used during archery season by hunters aged 60 and over, but under the new law, this age restriction has been lifted.
- Lead sinkers will not be banned from any waters in Minnesota. Initially proposed as an outright ban on all lead fishing tackle in Minnesota, CSF and partners worked to oppose and exclude language that sought to designate certain waters to prohibit lead sinkers. This language was not included in the omnibus legislation.
- Lead ammunition will not be banned on certain public lands. CSF expressed opposition to legislators looking to include language that would prohibit the use of lead ammunition on certain Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). In 2022, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) repealed its own emergency rulemaking which would have done the same, citing the lack of available non-lead ammunition alternatives.
- The Minnesota DNR may still manage wolves through hunting. CSF opposed language from being included in the omnibus bill that would have repealed the DNR’s authority to manage a wolf hunt. To adequately manage wolf populations following their inevitable federal delisting, it is imperative that state fish and wildlife management agencies have the authority to authorize and regulate managed wolf hunts.
Active efforts to support legislation that benefits sportsmen and women – as well as efforts to thwart legislation that hinders them – is essential to advancing conservation in America. CSF worked diligently to secure these favorable policy outcomes in the North Star State and will continue working to advance and protect our outdoor heritage in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest.