OUTDOORS: Legislature goes hunting for new bills

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2003


The Louisiana and Mississippi turkey seasons open this weekend, the red snapper season will open in the Gulf of Mexico next month and on March 31 maybe the most important season for outdoors people gets underway – the law making season.

That’s when the 2003 Regular session of the LA Legislature kicks off and a number of measures affecting the use and management of our natural resources and the environment will be introduced.

Some will die on the floors of the House and Senate while others will eventually become law. Public input from sportsmen is crucial to making the system to work. Here is a list of bills of interest to sportsmen that have been filed so far.

HB 20 by Pitre – Non-resident Fishing License – Defines a native nonresident whose birth certificate indicates he/she was born in Louisiana and provides for a “native nonresident,” 7 consecutive day basic fishing license for $9.50 and a 7-day saltwater license for $5.50.

HB 30 by Baudoin – Disabled H&F License Makes persons receiving disability retirement benefits from any retirement system eligible for reduced hunting/fishing license fees upon presentation of I.D. and a letter from the SSA or retirement system granting disability benefits.

HB 141 by Baldone – LWFC – Requires 3 of the members of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Commission to electors from one of the following coastal parishes: St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Charles, St. Mary, Iberia, Vermillion, Cameron and be appointed by the governor from nominees submitted by the legislators whose district includes all or part of any of the listed coastal parishes. Further requires the LWFC to elect a new chair and vice chair at the first meeting in January each year.

HB 170 by Powell – Fish Trap – Allows a licensed crab fisherman to keep up to 25 finfish/day caught in crab traps for personal consumption, except for specks and reds and provided the fish are within the legal size limits.

HB 236 by Townsend – Hunter Education -Requires that the office of Wildlife within the LDWF perform the functions of the state relative to the administration and coordination of the firearm safety and hunter education programs required under current laws.

SB 14 by Cain – Senior License – Authorizes a senior hunting/fishing license to be used in lieu of a recreational license as one of the requirements to be a licensed saltwater charter boat-fishing guide.

SB 27 by Hainkel – Aircraft Hunting – Prohibits the use of aircraft to assist in the spotting or taking of wild turkey or white-tailed deer.

SB 45 by McPherson – Crab Trap -Authorizes the LWFC to establish a program to remove abandoned crab traps from state water bottoms and river beds including a prohibition on crab trap use for consecutive days up to 16 between Feb 1 and Mar 31 and for consecutive days up to 14 which would include the opening of the spring onshore shrimp season.

SB 47 by McPherson – Freedom to Hunt/Fish/Trap – Proposes a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right of every citizen to hunt, fish and trap subject to regulation, restriction and prohibition as provided by law.