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SomethingFishy*

ATVAM End of Session Update May 20, 2008

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ATVAM End of Session Update

May 20, 2008

The 2008 MN Legislative session wrapped up on Sunday, May 18 just before midnight. ATVAM had a very successful session with the passing of the formula increase for Un-refunded gas tax and the addition of some new projects. ATVAM was also able to fight off all of anti-access groups restrictive legislative attempts.

Major accomplishments for ATVAM during the 2008 Legislative session include:

Increase in ATV un-refunded gas tax from .15 to .27, adding an additional $590,000 in FY2009, $1.09 million in FY2010 and $1.12 Million in FY2011 and continue indefinitely.

$300,000 per biennium added to DNR Trails and Waterways Division for trail development, maintenance, and operations. This new money will get the new trails from the forest classification process in shape to use.

$70,000 per biennium added to the grant-in-aid account.

$370,000 per biennium for grants to local law enforcement for OHV related enforcement and education.

$100,000 in one time money to make the "Moose Trail" in Hoyt Lakes, MN into a multi-use trail. It is currently a snowmobile trail, but will be converted into an OHV-snowmobile trail.

$400,000 ($700,000 total OHV & Snowmobile funding) in one time money to complete two culverts for added connectivity of existing trails to the Virginia OHV Park. This is a shared effort with MN4WD, ARMCA, and MNUSA. This is an effort that the OHV and snowmobile community came together on, and each group paid for a portion of the construction. There is still some property around the Virginia rec site that needs to be acquired, and this money cannot be spent until that land is acquired.

Passing the "Forests for the Future" Program. The Forests for the Future program is a forest legacy program that was appropriated money to lessen the impact of forest parceling by acquiring conservation easements. These easements can include ATV recreational use as an option for forest use.

Fighting against Minnesotans for Responsible Recreation's attempt to repeal the un-refunded gas tax program for ATV's, snowmobiles, boats, OHM's, and OHV's. The bill never received a hearing and died.

Fighting against the anti-access groups request for all new ATV revenue to be appropriated to DNR Enforcement. No bill ever received a hearing in committee and died.

Fighting against a bill that would expand the ability for law enforcement to confiscate ATV's for minor offenses, and drastically restricts public access. The bill was never heard in committee and died.

The ATV un-refunded gas tax passed early in session and was signed into law. This finally brings our formula up to date with the findings in the 2005 study. ATVAM fought for 3 years to pass this contentious piece of legislation. This formula increase, coupled with the veto-override of the transportation bill allowed the ATV account access to more money that we so desperately needed to continue growing at the rapid pace of our sport in MN.

The bill introduced to repeal the un-refunded gas tax program was scheduled to be given an informational hearing in the House, but was soon cancelled.

The lobbyists from all OHV groups, MNUSA, boating representatives, resort owners and various other interested parties will be working together as this legislation will be back again next year, and probably for many years to come. We will need to maintain our coalition of opposition and really continue to educate our elected officials on what this program does and how useful it is to building, maintaining, enforcing, educating, and expanding our sport.

There was an interesting bill introduced that would bring MN under the CA Emission laws, thus, placing us under the control of a council in CA. No one was sure if this affected motorcycles, or off road motorcycles. It made us very nervous how it would affect the performance and price of ATV's, and we helped lobby against its passage. The bill was killed in the Senate Jobs, and Economic Development Committee. There was an exception placed in the house version exempting ATV's from the law, but we were still not convinced that it totally exempted ATV's.

Additionally, the "20 yard rule" for ATV grouse hunting was repealed in one of the last legislative bills that passed at the capitol.

Thank you for your support of ATVing in Minnesota!

Ride Smart, Ride Safe

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