April 22, 2024

Legislation to Protect Conservation Funding in Louisiana Advances

Article Contact: Mark Lance,

Why It Matters: Legislation that reimburses the state fish and wildlife agency for revenue lost due to the creation of free and discounted hunting licenses is an effective way to protect conservation funding from misguided attempts to recognize specific groups by providing them with free or discounted licenses. While these efforts are oftentimes well-intentioned, they have a significant negative impact on the state fish and wildlife agency’s ability to provide services for sportsmen and women and manage public trust fish and wildlife resources.


  • On March 27, the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member and Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Co-Chair Representative Jerome Zeringue filed HB 795, which would provide the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reimbursement of revenue reductions, through the State General Fund, resulting from free and discounted recreational hunting and fishing licenses created by the legislature.
  • On April 16, HB 795 passed the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment unanimously (9-0). Prior to the Committee meeting, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted testimony in support of the bill.
  • HB 795 is not retroactive so free and discounted licenses that are currently on the books would not be affected. Therefore, there is no fiscal impact to the state unless the legislature passes a free or discounted license on or after the effective date of HB 795.

If HB 795 successfully navigates the legislative process, it would bring Louisiana in line with other states, including Tennessee, Michigan, and New Jersey, where state fish and wildlife agency funding is protected from impacts resulting from the passage of free or discounted licenses. Since Tennessee enacted their conservation funding protection legislation in 2017, the Tennessee General Assembly has not passed any bills that provide a free or discounted hunting and fishing license.

Sportsmen and women in Louisiana contribute over $40 million annually to conservation funding through the “user pays — public benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). Revenue generated from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses is instrumental to the success of the ASCF, and protecting license sale revenue is critical because the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars that the state draws down each year are dependent on the number of licenses sold.

CSF’s letter in support of HB 795 stated, “While some free or discounted licenses result in what could be considered a minor impact on license revenue, the loss becomes more significant when considering the loss of additional funds that would otherwise have been apportioned through WSFR. To determine Louisiana’s apportionment through this federal program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) uses a formula that, in part, considers the number of certified hunting and fishing licenses sold in the state. To be certified, each license sale must generate a net revenue of $2.00 otherwise the state receives no federal funds for that license sale. Free and discounted hunting and fishing licenses that do not meet the USFWS guidelines cost LDWF not only the direct revenue from the free or discount license but also the 3:1 federal match from WSFR.”

HB 795 now awaits debate on the House floor. CSF applauds Representative Zeringue’s leadership on this issue and looks forward to continuing to coordinate with the Caucus and our partners to continue to advance HB 795.

States Involved:

View All news

Back TO All

In Season


Stay current with the latest news, policy activity and how to get involved.

Sign up for Newsletters


Donate today so we can keep fighting for tomorrow!

Donate Now