Senator Dan Brown’s Legislative Column

Changing the Way DNR is Funded

This week, I introduced Senate Bill 669. This is legislation that would transfer money received by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from various fines and fees to the state’s general revenue instead of the department retaining those fees. Currently, 85 percent of the department’s budget is funded by fees and fines, with the rest coming from general revenue.  When a department is self-funded through fines and fees instead of appropriated funds, they often become too dependent on that source of income, and I fear that may be happening with the DNR.

I believe that the Department of Natural Resources has become too intrusive, and almost predatory in their enforcement of environmental regulations. Sadly, I have seen many instances where the department has taken minor infractions and imposed high fines and fees that destroy businesses and, in some cases, destroy lives. While I do agree there should be fines for violating rules and regulations set forth by DNR, I also feel as though a person’s livelihood should not be diminished by their ability or inability to pay fines that often are exorbitant and far too harsh for the infraction. Putting the department’s money back in general revenue and dependent on legislative appropriations should make them more accountable.

I introduced this legislation on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the first day of the Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly, and am looking forward to seeing it move through the legislative process.

As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.