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Senate could vote on invasive-species boating proposal this weekend

The bill allows the DNR to setup inspection stations and issue tougher fines to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive-species. Minnesota's 800,000 boaters would also be required to pass a training course. House lawmakers okayed the legislation Friday and Senators could vote on it this weekend.
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The bill allows the DNR to setup inspection stations and issue tougher fines to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive-species. Minnesota's 800,000 boaters would also be required to pass a training course. House lawmakers okayed the legislation Friday and Senators could vote on it this weekend.

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Tougher laws aimed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, like zebra mussels and spiny waterfleas, go into effect Sunday, July 1 -- doubling fines for Minnesota boaters who are caught violating the rules. The Department of Natural Resources says about 20 percent of boaters are not taking the basic precautions to comply with the laws. The new fines range from $100 to $500 dollars.

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Minnesota's fight against invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp includes mandatory boat inspections and fines for failure to clean boats. To State Rep. Steve Drazkowski it's more government that takes away individual liberties.

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says 20 percent of boaters screened this spring have violated laws to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species. The agency calls the rate unacceptable because the majority of violations could be avoided. DNR officers stepped up patrols last month and will continue through the summer.

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