Contact: Clay Chester, Southeastern States Coordinator
Last week, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Governor John Bel Edwards signed a number of pro-sportsmen’s bills into law.
Working alongside conservation partners and the state fish and wildlife agency, the bipartisan Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus), which is led by Co-Chair Representative Vincent Pierre and Speaker Clay Schexnayder, works to ensure that the voices of sportsmen and women are represented in the Sportsmen’s Paradise state.
Wild Game Donations
On June 9, legislation sponsored by Speaker Schexnayder was signed into law by the Governor. House Bill 35 (Act 125) adds 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.
On June 11, Governor Edwards signed House Bill 159 (Act 175) into law. The legislation extends the ability to hunt feral hogs, coyotes, armadillos, nutria or beaver during nighttime hours year-round on private property. Additionally, the law requires that the local parish sheriff be notified within twenty-four hours prior to the attempted taking or immediately upon harvest of these species.
House Bill 246 (Act 178), which authorizes 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,” was signed by the Governor on June 11. 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 11, House Bill 411 (Act 190) was signed into law by Governor Edwards. Sponsored by Caucus Member Representative Neil Riser, the legislation allows 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 qualifying veterans and active duty military members.
Firearms and Ammunition Regulation
On June 12, House Bill 781 (Act 325), which deems firearms and ammunition businesses as essential for the purposes of operating or conducting business during a declared emergency or disaster, was signed into law by the Governor. Sponsored by Caucus Member Representative Blake Miguez, the law specifically lists firearm and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, retailers and shooting ranges as essential businesses and operations for the purposes of safety and security.
Each of the laws mentioned above will be effective on August 1, 2020. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, in conjunction with the Caucus, will continue to monitor legislation affecting the more than 904,000 sportsmen and women of Louisiana.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?