Louisiana: Pro-Sportsmen’s Legislation Advances to the Governor’s Desk

Contact: Clay Chester, Southeastern States Coordinator

The 2020 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature adjourned on June 1, and a number of pro-sportsmen’s bills await action by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Governor John Bel Edwards. Some of the bills on the Governor’s desk include:

Wild Game Donations

On June 1, legislation sponsored by Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Clay Schexnayder, progressed to the Governor. House Bill 35 would add feral hogs to the definition of “wild game” that can be donated under the game meat donation liability exemption statute. Game meat donation liability exemptions allow many state-run and nonprofit organizations to maximize donations from hunters without having to carry arduous liability insurance policies that limit the amount of people in need that can be fed.

Invasive Species

On June 3, legislation that would extend the ability to hunt outlaw quadrupeds (feral hogs, coyotes and armadillos), nutria or beaver during nighttime hours year-round on private property was sent to the Governor for consideration. House Bill 159 would require that the local parish sheriff be notified within twenty-four hours prior to the attempted taking or immediately upon harvest.

Charitable Organizations

House Bill 246, which would authorize the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to certify a not-for-profit organization as an “organization involved in charitable hunting and fishing activities,” awaits action by the Governor as of June 3. Once an organization is certified, individuals engaged in hunting or fishing activities conducted by the organization would be exempt from license requirements during the sponsored activities.

Licenses for Purple Heart Recipients

On June 3, legislation (House Bill 411) was sent to the Governor that would allow any person who has been awarded a Purple Heart, including a nonresident, to be issued hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate. Many states offer discounted licenses to veterans and active duty military members.

Firearms and Ammunition Regulation

On June 2, legislation that would deem firearms and ammunition businesses as essential for the purposes of operating or conducting business during a declared emergency or disaster was sent to the Governor for executive approval. House Bill 781 specifically lists firearm and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, retailers, and shooting ranges as essential businesses and operations for purposes of safety and security.

The Governor’s signing deadline is June 20. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, in conjunction with the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, will continue to monitor these bills and other sportsmen’s-related legislation in the special session that convened on June 1.

Louisiana’s 904,000 sportsmen and women support more than 23,345 jobs, contribute more than $2.5 billion to the state’s economy, and in 2019 contributed more than $43.18 million for conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.

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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?

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