Council, sportsmen's groups ask Dayton to veto items in Legacy bill

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Several Minnesota habitat and sportsmen's groups, along with the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, are asking Gov. Mark Dayton to veto items in the $496 million Legacy bill that weren't approved by the council, MPR reports.

Although the proposed legislation is ultimately up to lawmakers, the council was created by the Legislature to vet proposals and send recommendations to lawmakers.

Minnesota's Legacy Amendment was approved by voters in 2008 to establish a three-eighths cent sales tax to raise money for the outdoors, clean water, the arts and parks and trails.

David Hartwell, chairman of the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, says the council takes issue with funding for metro parks, a project that the council previously gave low marks. Also, $3 million for grants in the bill to help fight aquatic invasive species was never presented to the board, according to MPR.

"I completely understand that the Legislature has the final say in this money, but this should be something that is allocated based on a process, a demonstrated need, a good use of taxpayer dollars, and not based on a lobbying effort, not based on a 'please put it in my backyard' type of mentality," Hartwell said.

About two dozen groups signed a letter asking Dayton to veto the projects.

The Star Tribune says Dayton had promised while campaigning for the governor's office he would veto any attempt to usurp the authority of the 12-member Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.

In a moment between retired Vikings coach Bud Grant and Dayton at the recent unveiling of the new stadium design, Dayton said he would keep his promise.

"The governor looked me right in the eye and said, 'I know, I know. The House [Legacy] bill won't pass the Senate, and if it does I'll veto it,'" Grant told the Star Tribune.

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