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House committee backs bill to compensate game farm owners


HELENA - A House committee Tuesday night approved a bill using sportsmen license fees to pay elk ranchers about $20 million over the next four years to phase out their operations.

House Bill 759, passed 11-5 by the Agriculture Committee, is a tamed-down version of earlier legislation that would have overturned a voter-approved initiative designed to eliminate the game farm industry.

Rep. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, said his bill was hammered out over the past few weeks as a ''reasonable compromise'' to pay elk ranchers - mostly with money gathered from hunting and fishing license sales - and s...

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