2011 Minnesota Legislature Special Session
Laws Affecting Animals
After reaching an agreement on the budget impasse, on July 20, 2011, Governor Dayton called a special session and the Legislature proceeded to approve a total of twelve budget bills. The Special Session Environment bill had several pieces that negatively affect Minnesota’s animals. Read the new law here.
Read MVAP’s Legislative Wrap Up 2011, which includes all major animal bills, including those passed during the special session.
For a complete list of updated bills affecting animals, please check our website under Issues and Legislation: Watch List 2011-2012.
Special session laws affecting wildlife
- Wolves New language in the Special Session Environment bill allows the Department of Natural Resources Commissioner to authorize a public hunt of gray wolves immediately after they are delisted from the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, new special session legislation includes the gray wolf in the definition of “small game” in the game and fish laws.
- Beavers Previously, state law only permitted the removal of beaver dams and lodges by road authorities. Under the new law, the road authority may kill or arrange to have killed a beaver associated with a problematic lodge. The local control program may include the offering of a bounty for the lawful taking of beaver. More information on beaver bounties is here.
- Coyotes The new law allows a county or town board to offer a bounty for the taking of coyotes. More information on coyote bounties is here.
- Bears Minnesota is one of the US states that allow bear baiting by bear hunters. It is now legal, on private property, to use 30 gallon or larger drums to hold the bait.
- Birds The game bird definition now includes the sandhill crane. The Eurasian collared dove is now an unprotected bird.
Special session laws affecting farm animals
- Feedlots New language has eased environmental regulations for factory farms in Minnesota. Until now, Minnesota has had higher standards than minimal federal Environment Protection Act standards for the largest factory farms. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, there are more than 30,000 registered feedlots in Minnesota, but only 4%, or about 1,100, are over 1,000 animal units. Yet because of the extremely large amounts of liquid manure they concentrate in one place, these huge facilities present a disproportionately large pollution risk to air and water. State law required that factory farms over 1,000 animal units get a Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The new language lowers state standards for factory farms over 1,000 animal units by removing our state’s requirement that they get a Clean Water Act discharge permit. Instead, the bill requires our state follow weaker federal standards that do not require this permit. For more information, please see the Land Stewardship Project. Legislators also changed the definition of “pasture” to make fewer feedlots subject to pollution controls. Please see the MN Center for Environmental Advocacy.