MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A live bait favored by winter walleye anglers are at the center of an escalating policy dispute between bait shops blocked from importing the minnows and fisheries managers upholding the ban as a critical defense against fish disease and invasive carp.

The Star Tribune reports that the Department of Natural Resources has prevailed in arguments over the ban, which prevents Minnesota bait dealers from buying golden shiners from other states, including the bountiful fish farm industry of Arkansas.

Republican state Sen. Carrie Ruud of Breezy Point says she is convinced Arkansas minnows are "bio-secure" and worthy of Minnesota bait buckets.

The department's commissioner, Tom Landwehr, including the minnow controversy in a letter to Senate leaders last week as one of several "problematic policy items" that deserves its own debate and shouldn't be part of the state's budget bill.