A bill that would have eliminated resident hunting and fishing licenses and threatened Mississippi’s share of federal funding for wildlife programs is dead.
Senate Bill 2446, introduced by Sen. Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, was one of many to miss Tuesday’s deadline for committee action on bills in the house of origin. It was the fate of all 12 bills filed in the Senate Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee, as well as 24 of 27 bills filed with the House Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee.
The three remaining bills headed to the House floor include:
HB 718: Assessments may be imposed for Class I violation of game and fish statutes.
HB 841: Exempt Purple Heart winners from needing a hunting license while hunting nuisance animals.
HB 890: Allow the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to sell part of the property within the Canemount Wildlife Management Area in Claiborne County.
“You can tell it’s an election year,” said Dwight Quayle, a hunter and fisherman from Terry. “Anything of consequence or the slightest tinge of controversy never had a chance this year.
“That’s a good thing when it comes to bills as ludicrous as eliminating the resident licenses. It’s kind of hard to explain the way they think up there (in the Capitol) when you hear about bills like that, and, again, when you see them want to eliminate a Purple Heart winner from buying a hunting license to hunt nuisance animals. Why not just exempt them — period. As far as I’m concerned, they paid their dues.”
Jimmy Turner of Jackson defended the House and Senate for inactivity on wildlife-related matters.
“Don’t forget, they did a lot the last two years, including the change in primitive weapons, separating the archery season from gun and creating the new spring squirrel season,” Turner said. “They took care of a lot with those moves. Of course, had they passed that license bill, I would have been up there raising a ruckus.”