Why do they do these things to me? I checked my list of dangerous legislation yesterday and found no critical votes or hearings on the immediate agenda. Then late yesterday, up popped a floor vote in the Senate on SB425, the Walleye Welfare Act. This bill is predicated on the assumption that the warm water fishing license stamp will be repealed in the next legislature increasing your fishing license cost by $2. It also gives already-allocated money from the FWP budget to the Fort Peck warm water hatchery. The sponsors don’t mention in the bill itself that the stamp will be repealed, but it is firmly hidden stated in the Fiscal Note. In the mean time, the hatchery would take away needed funding from the current FWP budget to fund the overbuilt and unneeded hatchery.
The 2nd reading floor vote will take place at 1pm today. I don’t hold out a lot of hope that we can stop this legislation in the republican-controlled senate. We may have a better chance once the bill reaches the House, but in the mean time we will give them a run for their money. And we still have a third floor vote.
Also up, tomorrow in the House Federal Relations, Energy, and Telecommunications committee will be SB387 by Keith Bales (R) of Otter. This is one of the pernicious bills that would remove the public from any oversight in permitting by the DEQ of energy projects. SB387 requires that any citizen who want to appeal a permit post a bond for any costs or damage to the applicant. Kind of a “Pay to Play” scheme that would effectively remove the public from the process. It would also prohibit the introduction of any new information that was not presented in the original comment period. It does not, however, prohibit the same action if a company appeals the permit. In addition, it shortens the appeals process allowing only 2-4 weeks for the public to review the draft permit and submit an appeal.
Both of these bills are sneaky and nasty and you need to get involved. Call the legislature hotline at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for up to five legislators or a committee. You can also use the Legislature Online Message Form or each legislator (mostly) has their own email address. Please let your senators know that you are not happy with these bills and do it quickly.