Outdoors Council Starts

The council that will recommend how to spend money voters approved to come from a higher sales tax meets for the first time Monday.

The Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council convenes in St. Paul to begin figuring out how it wants legislators to spend about $80 million in 2010, and more in later years. The money comes from a modest sales tax increase that was part of a constitutional amendment voters approved Nov. 4.

The council, named for long-time Sen. Bob Lessard of International Falls, does not have final say in how the additional money will be spent for wetlands, prairies, forests and habitat for game, fish and wildlife.

Two senators on the committee illustrate the range of people on the panel. Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, is one of the Senate’s most liberal members, and a strong conservation advocate. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, is a former Douglas County sheriff and very conservative.

“These members will provide informed opinions on the worth and overall impact of prospective projects to the Legislature," Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said.