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Hunting, fishing licenses could be sold in shutdown

ST. PAUL -- Senators voted 41-24 Tuesday to keep hunting and fishing license sales going if state government shuts down like last summer.

"I saw firsthand how people were hurt by not allowing them to buy a fishing license," Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, said about why he brought the bill.

The state lost $3 million in revenue during the 2011 shutdown, Gazelka said, but "the tourism industry lost far, far, far more than that."

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said some people plan hunting and fishing trips more than a half-year in advance. "To lose that kind of revenue is totally irresponsible."

Democrats who blame Republicans for last year's budget impasse that led to the shutdown said bills like Gazelka's send the wrong message.

"This is another one of those bills where we expect the Legislature to not gets its work done," Senator Mary Jo McGuire, DFL-Falcon Heights, said.

The bill would require on-line license sales only.

A similar bill by Representative Larry Howes, R-Walker, awaits a House vote.

Several bills making their way through the Legislature exempt a variety of programs from being affected by shutdowns.

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.