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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 270-S.F.No. 222 
                  An act relating to natural resources; establishing a 
                  gross misdemeanor penalty for gross overlimit 
                  violations of fish and game laws; setting certain 
                  restitution values; providing criminal penalties; 
                  requiring fish and game license seizure for certain 
                  violations; establishing possession criteria for 
                  commercial fishing operations; modifying commercial 
                  license reinstatement provisions; amending Minnesota 
                  Statutes 2000, sections 97A.015, by adding a 
                  subdivision; 97A.225, subdivision 1; 97A.255, by 
                  adding a subdivision; 97A.421, subdivision 5, by 
                  adding a subdivision; 97C.505, by adding a 
                  subdivision; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota 
                  Statutes, chapters 97A; 97C. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97A.015, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 42a.  [RESTITUTION VALUE OF THE WILD 
        ANIMALS.] "Restitution value of the wild animals" means the 
        total value of the wild animals taken in a violation based on: 
           (1) the values established under section 97A.345; or 
           (2) the values determined by the court under section 
        97A.341, subdivision 4, if the values are not established under 
        section 97A.345. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97A.225, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [SEIZURE.] (a) An enforcement officer must 
        seize all motor vehicles used to:  
           (1) shine wild animals in violation of section 97B.081, 
        subdivision 1; 
           (2) transport big game animals illegally taken or 
        fur-bearing animals illegally purchased; or 
           (3) transport minnows in violation of section 97C.501, 
        97C.515, or 97C.525.  
           (b) An enforcement officer must seize all boats and motors 
        used in netting fish on Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Lake 
        Superior, Namakan Lake, and Sand Point Lake in violation of 
        licensing or operating requirements of section 97A.475, 
        subdivision 31, 32, 33, or 37 30, 97C.825, 97C.831, or 97C.835, 
        or a rule of the commissioner relating to these provisions.  
           (c) An enforcement officer may seize all boats and motors 
        with their trailers, that are used to take, possess, or 
        transport wild animals when the restitution value of the wild 
        animals exceeds $500. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97A.255, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 5.  [JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY.] When two or more 
        people intentionally aid, advise, counsel, conspire with, or act 
        in concert with each other to unlawfully take, transport, or 
        possess wild animals when the restitution value of the wild 
        animals exceeds $500, each person is jointly and severally 
        liable for the wild animals for purposes of: 
           (1) license seizure and revocation under sections 97A.420 
        and 97A.421; 
           (2) equipment and property seizure under section 97A.221; 
           (3) boat, motor, and trailer seizure under section 97A.225; 
        and 
           (4) restitution under section 97A.341. 
           Sec. 4.  [97A.338] [GROSS OVERLIMITS OF WILD ANIMALS; 
        PENALTY.] 
           A person who takes, possesses, or transports wild animals 
        over the legal limit, in closed season, or without a valid 
        license, when the restitution value of the wild animals is over 
        $1,000 is guilty of a gross overlimit violation.  A violation 
        under this section is a gross misdemeanor. 
           Sec. 5.  [97A.420] [SEIZURE OF LICENSES.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [SEIZURE.] (a) An enforcement officer shall 
        immediately seize the license of a person who unlawfully takes, 
        transports, or possesses wild animals when the restitution value 
        of the wild animals exceeds $500.  Except as provided in 
        subdivisions 2, 4, and 5, the person may not obtain any license 
        to take the same type of wild animals involved, including a 
        duplicate license, until an action is taken under subdivision 6. 
           (b) In addition to the license seizure under paragraph (a), 
        if the restitution value of the wild animals unlawfully taken, 
        possessed, or transported is $5,000 or more, all other game and 
        fish licenses held by the person shall be immediately seized.  
        Except as provided in subdivision 2, 4, or 5, the person may not 
        obtain any game or fish license or permit, including a duplicate 
        license, until an action is taken under subdivision 6.  
           (c) A person may not take wild animals covered by a license 
        seized under this subdivision until an action is taken under 
        subdivision 6. 
           Subd. 2.  [ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW.] (a) At any time after 
        the seizure of a license under subdivision 1 and before 
        revocation under section 97A.421, a person may request in 
        writing a review of the seizure under this section.  Upon 
        receiving the request for review, the commissioner shall review 
        the seizure, the evidence upon which it was based, and other 
        material information brought to the attention of the 
        commissioner, and determine whether sufficient cause exists to 
        sustain the seizure. 
           (b) Within 15 days after receiving the request for 
        administrative review, the commissioner shall issue a written 
        report of the review and shall order that the seizure be either 
        sustained or rescinded. 
           (c) The review provided in this subdivision is not subject 
        to the contested case provisions of the Administrative Procedure 
        Act under chapter 14.  The availability of administrative review 
        does not preclude judicial review under this section. 
           Subd. 3.  [JUDICIAL REVIEW.] (a) Within 30 days following 
        the seizure of a license under subdivision 1, a person may 
        petition the court for review.  The petition must be filed with 
        the district court administrator in the county where the 
        incident occurred, together with proof of service of a copy on 
        the commissioner and the county attorney.  A responsive pleading 
        is not required of the commissioner of natural resources, and 
        court fees may not be charged for the appearance of the 
        representative of the commissioner in the matter. 
           (b) The petition must be captioned in the name of the 
        person making the petition as petitioner and the commissioner as 
        respondent.  The petition must state specifically the grounds 
        upon which the petitioner seeks rescission of the license 
        seizure. 
           (c) The filing of the petition does not stay the license 
        seizure.  The judicial review shall be conducted according to 
        the Rules of Civil Procedure. 
           Subd. 4.  [HEARING.] (a) A hearing under subdivision 3 must 
        be before a district court judge in the county where the 
        incident occurred giving rise to the license seizure.  The 
        hearing must be to the court and may be conducted at the same 
        time as hearings upon pretrial motions in a related criminal 
        prosecution.  The commissioner must be represented by the county 
        attorney. 
           (b) The hearing must be held at the earliest practicable 
        date and in any event no later than 60 days following the filing 
        of the petition for review. 
           (c) The scope of the hearing must be limited to the issue 
        of whether there is probable cause to believe that the person 
        violated section 97A.338. 
           (d) The court shall order that the license seizure be 
        either sustained or rescinded.  Within 14 days following the 
        hearing, the court shall forward a copy of the order to the 
        commissioner. 
           (e) Any party aggrieved by the decision of the reviewing 
        court may appeal the decision as provided in the Rules of Civil 
        Appellate Procedure. 
           Subd. 5.  [TEMPORARY RELEASE OF COMMERCIAL LICENSES.] At 
        any time during the period that a game or fish license is seized 
        under subdivision 1, a person possessing a commercial license 
        issued under the game and fish laws may make a written request 
        to the commissioner to temporarily release the commercial 
        license.  If the commissioner determines that the public welfare 
        will not be injured, the commissioner may temporarily reinstate 
        the commercial license upon payment of a temporary reinstatement 
        fee of $1,000 cash or bond in favor of the state for each 
        commercial license to be released.  An additional fee is not 
        required for vehicles licensed under section 97A.475, 
        subdivision 26, clause (2) or (4).  If the license is returned 
        under subdivision 6, paragraph (a), the temporary reinstatement 
        fee shall be returned to the licensee.  If the license is 
        revoked under subdivision 6, paragraph (b), the temporary 
        reinstatement fee shall be deposited in the game and fish fund 
        and is not refundable. 
           Subd. 6.  [RETURN OR REVOCATION OF LICENSES UPON DISMISSAL 
        OR CONVICTION.] (a) Upon acquittal, dismissal, or determination 
        not to charge a person for a violation, the license seizure 
        under subdivision 1 is immediately rescinded and any license 
        seized in connection with the incident must be returned to the 
        licensee. 
           (b) Upon conviction of a violation when the restitution 
        value of the wild animals exceeds $500, revocation of licenses 
        and license privileges must be imposed as provided under section 
        97A.421, subdivision 2a. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97A.421, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  [LICENSE REVOCATION AFTER CONVICTION.] (a) A 
        person may not obtain a license to take a wild animal and is 
        prohibited from taking wild animals for a period of five years 
        after the date of conviction of: 
           (1) a violation when the restitution value of the wild 
        animals is $5,000 or more; or 
           (2) a violation when the restitution value of the wild 
        animals exceeds $500 and the violation occurs within ten years 
        of one or more previous license revocations under this 
        subdivision.  
           (b) A person may not obtain a license to take the type of 
        wild animals involved in a violation when the restitution value 
        of the wild animals exceeds $500, and is prohibited from taking 
        the type of wild animals involved in the violation for a period 
        of three years after the date of conviction of a violation. 
           (c) The time period of multiple revocations under paragraph 
        (a), clause (2), shall be consecutive and no wild animals of any 
        kind may be taken during the entire period.  
           (d) The court may not stay or reduce the imposition of 
        license revocation provisions under this subdivision. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97A.421, 
        subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 5.  [COMMISSIONER MAY REINSTATE CERTAIN LICENSES 
        AFTER CONVICTION.] If the commissioner determines that the 
        public welfare will not be injured, the commissioner may 
        reinstate licenses voided under subdivision 1 and issue licenses 
        to persons ineligible under subdivision 2 or 2a.  The 
        commissioner's authority applies only to licenses to:  
           (1) maintain and operate fur or game farms, aquatic farms, 
        or private fish hatcheries; 
           (2) take fish commercially in Lake of the Woods, Rainy 
        Lake, Namakan Lake, or Lake Superior by commercial netting; 
           (3) buy fish from Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Namakan 
        Lake, or Lake Superior commercial fishing commercial netting 
        licensees; and 
           (4) sell or export turtles or live minnows. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 97C.505, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 8.  [POSSESSION FOR MINNOW DEALERS.] When nets and 
        traps are lawfully set and tended, minnows and incidentally 
        taken game fish under four inches in length are not considered 
        to be in possession until the minnows or game fish are placed on 
        a motor vehicle or trailer for transport on land. 
           Sec. 9.  [97C.843] [POSSESSION FOR COMMERCIAL NETTING.] 
           When commercial nets, seines, bags, or cribs are lawfully 
        set and tended, incidentally taken fish not included in the 
        license are not considered in possession if they are returned to 
        the water or if they are tagged in accordance with section 
        97C.835 before they are placed on a motor vehicle or trailer for 
        transport on land. 
           Sec. 10.  [RULES FOR RESTITUTION VALUES FOR FISH AND 
        WILDLIFE.] 
           (a) The restitution value for a canvasback is $100.  The 
        restitution value for trumpeter swans is $1,000.  The base 
        restitution value for a yellow perch is $10 and the quality size 
        limit is ten inches.  The restitution values for the following 
        game fish based on size are: 
           (1) green or orange spotted sunfish that are less than four 
        inches in length, no value; 
           (2) yellow perch and members of the Centrarchidae family, 
        not included in clause (1), that are less than four inches in 
        length, ten cents per fish; 
           (3) walleye taken on Lake Superior or in St. Louis bay that 
        are less than two inches in length, ten cents per fish; and 
           (4) all other game fish that are less than four inches in 
        length and not included in clauses (1) to (3), $1 per fish. 
           (b) The commissioner of natural resources shall amend the 
        permanent rules relating to restitution values for fish and 
        wildlife, Minnesota Rules, chapter 6133, according to this 
        section and pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388, 
        clause (3).  Except as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 
        14.388, section 14.386 does not apply. 
           Sec. 11.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Sections 1 to 10 are effective March 1, 2003, and the 
        criminal provisions apply to crimes committed on or after that 
        date. 
           Presented to the governor March 22, 2002 
           Signed by the governor March 25, 2002, 2:15 p.m.