One ongoing frustration in following Minnesota's legislative debates over the outdoors is the summoning of the way things are remembered, the way things were, as far as public spending on and policy about the outdoor goes.
The state is changing demographically. How people want to recreate with nature is changing. The outdoors itself is changing, what with climate change and invasive species in the water and land (some of which, like buckthorn, oat crown rust and soybean aphids, create a collective meltdown).
Unfortunately, these changes don't seem to change the discussion at the state legislature. Near the end of the discussion of the Game and Fish Bill, Representative Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, raised these points:
The Game and Fish Bill always comes near the end of session, and I think we can all agree Minnesotans feel passionately about the outdoors. But one thing I’ve learned over the years here is that not all Minnesotans believe the same thing about the outdoors. When you look at this bill, you’re going to see a lot of things that are based on the way things were, or memory, or where people think people are.
Our state is changing. We’re in the midst of great change. And instead of looking at where we were, and what was, we could be looking at where we should be and where we could be and how we could move together toward that.
Spending time on blaze pink, spending time fighting old battles, spending those old discussions and those old debates, rather than looking at where we could go, even if it is near midnight, where we could go in the future.
At some point, the Legislature will have that discussion about game and fish, at some point Minnesota will engage in that discussion. It's not tonight.
I think we're going to have that discussion out on the campaign trail, we're going to have that conversation with our peers, we're going to have that conversation in our communities. Because nostalgia-based policy making isn’t going to cut it in the future. Looking at where we can go, and what we can do, is where we will need to be.
Here's the video of Hansen's remarks:
There was no further discussion, and the bill passed 84-42.
Here's the full debate:
Still: Rep. Hansen weighing judgment on nostalgia-based fish and game policy.
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