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Fireworks bill goes down in flames; fishing fee increase moves on

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Minnesotans will not be able to legally buy and use more powerful fireworks.

Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill Saturday night, saying it was "probably the toughest decision I have had to make."

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In a letter to legislators, he said that while most Minnesotans are responsible, "some are not."

"It is the government's foremost responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens," Dayton wrote.

He added: "Sometimes, it requires laws to protect people from themselves."

The bill would have allowed more powerful fireworks, including those that shoot into the air.

HUNTING FISHING FEES PASS

A bill allowing for a wolf hunting season and raising hunting and fishing license fees was approved 68-62 in the House and 34-28 in the Senate Saturday night.

The bill also included a number of other outdoors- and environment-related provisions.

Senator Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, said she was concerned about the wolf hunting season established in the bill. She said the animal was just taken off the endangered species list and more consideration should be given to the issue.

Senator John Carlson, R-Bemidji, said the plan is reasonable, limiting the take at 400 wolves. About 4,000 wolves are in Minnesota.

The fee increases were added when the House and Senate combined separate versions of their bills, although some House members had issues with the addition.

"We never got to vote on this on the House floor," Representative Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, said.

Sixty outdoors groups asked for the fee increases because a Department of Natural Resources fund that collects the funds could soon be broke.

But Representative Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said the DNR did not prove it needed the funds.

"The people of Minnesota in my district are not asking for these fee increases," he said.

The bill now heads to the governor.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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