A bill that would raise saltwater fees by 136-percent for Louisiana residents overwhelmingly passed the full Louisiana House of Representatives today and is now headed for the Senate Natural Resources Committee, according to the bill’s author.
Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette) said House Bill 1082, which would raise the saltwater license fee for Louisiana residents from $5.50 to $13, passed by a vote of 74-17.
“I had no questions on the bill. I didn’t really have any opposition that I had heard of,” Bishop said. “The 17 that voted against it really are generally the people that vote against any fee increase whatsoever.
“That’s just their political ideology, and I completely understand that.”
From here, the bill now heads to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, where it will probably be heard sometime in the next two weeks, he said.
“I still need to go over to the Senate side and visit with the senators and check and see who would like to carry it, but it shouldn’t be an issue,” Bishop said.
The bill, which is supported by Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana, would create a Saltwater Fish Research and Conservation Fund that could be used by the state for the LA Creel program, which would allow the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to collect more precise recreational harvest data.
It also includes a 4-year sunset provision which will allow legislators the opportunity to review the program’s progress in four years and determine if the increase will remain, and will not affect residents who turned 60 before June 1, 2000.
A retired biologist with LDWF told LouisianaSportsman.com yesterday that the proposed fee increase is unnecessary to fund research on saltwater fisheries.
If the bill successfully passes the Senate Natural Resources Committee, it then heads to the full Senate for final passage, Bishop said.