Yesterday, June 8, in a 79 to 11 vote, the House rejected the Senate’s amendments to HB 535, a bill that would create “exclusion zones” along the Louisiana coast where the commercial harvest of menhaden (commonly called pogeys) would be prohibited.
The exclusion zones of the House version of the bill would stretch a minimum of ½ mile from the shoreline of Louisiana’s coasts. The Senate amendments cut the minimum size of the exclusion zones in half, from a width of ½ mile from the shoreline to a width of ¼ mile.
The Senate amendments also provided the legal framework for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to study menhaden-industry by-catch, the extent of which has been a point of contention between supporters and opponents of the bill.
Rep. Joseph Orgeron of Golden Meadow, who introduced HB 535 back in early April, addressed the House before the concurrence vote, stating:
“In the Senate, they changed the exclusion zone from a ½ mile down to a ¼ mile, and they also (added erroneous technical amendments), and rather than correcting (the erroneous amendments) in the Senate–knowing that I would request rejection and go to conference–they left (the bill) as-is, so I sincerely ask that we reject the Senate amendments.”
The next step
The House-vote yesterday sends HB 535 to conference, where representatives from the House and Senate will attempt to reconcile the different versions of the bill. The two houses of the legislature must agree on the language of the bill before it can be sent to the Governor for the up-or-down decision that could make it law.
Reps. Orgeron, Coussan, and Kerner will represent the House in conference.
Louisiana Sportsman will continue to provide coverage of HB 535 as it makes its way through the legal process.
If you would like to view archived footage of yesterday’s vote to reject the Senate’s amendments, visit LA House On-Demand Video (louisiana.gov).
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