Look out! Legislature back in session

What do you do if the weather turns sour and Toledo Bend’s main lake is too rough? Here are some tips on how to catch fish right from your cabin in the main Louisiana creeks.

There are many things I love about spring — manicured azaleas bursting with red, purple and white blossoms, the smell of freshly cut grass carried on thick breezes, and the rhythmic “tick-tick-tick” of a topwater bait that’s interrupted by an explosion from a yet unidentified fish. But perhaps my favorite spring pastime is reading the list of proposals for the upcoming state legislative session. Every legislator has his pet projects, and he’ll introduce them no matter how ludicrous they sound to the rest of the sane world. “Mr. Speaker, in honor of the citizens of one of Louisiana’s forgotten towns, I propose that we begin a national marketing campaign informing the entire country that June 1 is Dry Prong Day here in Louisiana….”

I’ve often wondered what our state would be like if every law proposed by every legislator were automatically approved. We wouldn’t be able to breathe without permission — or at least without doing it in honor of someone.

But fortunately most proposals join a mountainous stack of others that have been rejected over the years. Here’s a sampling of what’s on the lineup this year, along with a little editorial comment in italics about each:

• HB20 would allow non-residents who were born in Louisiana to buy a 7-day fishing license for $9.50. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, but once again the Legislature is targeting license fees, which provide a substantial portion of the DWF’s budget, without replacing that money from the General Fund. Cheaper non-resident license fees would benefit the state as a whole, so the state should chip in to pay DWF’s expenses.

• HB30 would allow outdoorsmen who draw disability retirement benefits to buy licenses at a discounted rate. It’s very non-PC to oppose anything that benefits the disabled, but this is just a bad proposal. I think we need to make it as easy as possible for disabled sportsmen to have access to public hunting and fishing areas, but why should they pay less than any other citizen?

• HB70, HB160 and SB139 call for the state to issue America’s Wetlands license plates, place America’s Wetlands bumper stickers on all state vehicles, watercraft and aircraft, designate the loss of coastal wetlands as the official state crisis, and authorize the use of the America’s Wetlands logo on official documents. Bravo! Each of these proposals should pass without a single dissenting vote. They really don’t do a whole lot to actually save the coast, but they will show national politicians that Louisiana is finally ready to deal with its unprecedented coastal erosion.

• HB 141 requires that the LWFC include at least three members who are from the following parishes: St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Lafourche, Terrebonne, St. Charles, St. Mary, Iberia, Vermilion and Cameron. It also says requires the governor to pick his nominees from a list of candidates selected from legislators from these parishes. Give me a break. Why should 43 percent of the commission come from 10 of the state’s 64 parishes?

 Ahhh! Spring is in the air.

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Todd Masson
About Todd Masson 460 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.

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