Minnesota House Outdoor Recreation and Mining Committee Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, didn't see the last person stroll from the committee hearing room gallery to the table where agency personnel, lobbyists and ordinary citizens had been presenting their views on HF3209, which would prohibit the DNR from adopting rules to further restrict the use of lead shot.
No additional witnesses had come forth when Hackbarth had asked a few minutes earlier, and his attention was focused on remarks opposing the bill by his colleague Jack Considine, DFL-Mankato. Considine's opposition was spirited yet civil, keeping with the tone of entire hearing over the controversial issue.
Hackbarth almost missed Mitch Abramson sitting at the table, but the committee aides at his side drew his attention to the last to testify and Hackbarth asked him to say his piece about the lead shot rulemaking prohibition.
Sporting a t-shirt featuring a green-gilled fright night portrait of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the St. Paul man didn't get to the business at hand:
Mitch Abramson, St. Paul. Thank you for allowing me to speak.
And just a quick thing. Slippery slope. We've seen it for the last fifty years.
We were told you could keep your doctor and now pretty soon, communist, left-wing fascists (points at the side of the committee where Considine was seated) like we have here, will be saying based on your political position, are you even going to get a cancer treatment?
As we go further down this ---
At this point, Considine interrupted:
Mr. Chair, I resent the name-calling and I would like to have this stop.
Abramson turned to Considine, saying:
Left-wing fascist? Have you seen the Trump rallies?
Abramson rose, Hackbarth thanked him for his testimony, while Considine shot back:
Abramson: I do!
Trump hasn't held a rally in Minnesota. Here's the clip, which will start at the point just before Abramson's peculiar testimony:
To get a sense of relevant testimony, we recommend Session Daily Johnathan Mohr's Legislature takes aim at lead shot ban, which concludes:
A number of testifiers spoke both for and against the bill, which was approved on an 11-3 roll-call vote and referred to the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee. There is no Senate companion.
Most agreed lead is harmful, but several supporters of the bill said scientific evidence does not show lead shot harms entire wildlife populations. They also argued the ban would make hunting more expensive, and some thought it could open the door to further regulation of hunting in the future.
Opponents of the bill, several of whom were hunters themselves, said the ban was needed to help limit the impact of a dangerous element from the ecosystem – in the same way lead paint and lead batteries are being removed.
We were unable to find anything online about a Mitch Abramson who lives in St. Paul, but certainly understand why Hackbarth had been asking those testifying to be brief.
Screengrab: Mitch Abramson testifying about something or the other on Wednesday afternoon.
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