Four area reps supported increasing license fees

<p class="p1">BATON ROUGE — Four Southwest Louisiana House members voted for a change in the state’s wildlife fees that was designed to help the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recoup a portion of the $65 million it has lost because of budget problems since 2009.</p><p class="p3">However, the legislation will have to be reconsidered because Monday’s 54-27 vote was 16 shy of the 70 votes (two-thirds) needed because it required an increase in fees.</p><p class="p3">Fees have not been raised since 2000.</p><p class="p3">Rep. Jerome Zeringue, R-Houma, was sponsored of House Bill 687. It would have raised $6.8 million per year for the department that has to depend on funds from fees, permits and oil and gas resources to pay its expenses. The department doesn’t rely on general fund revenues. The legislation would have consolidated the number of licenses from 117 to 39. </p><p class="p3">A resident’s hook-and-line fishing license would have gone from $2.50 to $5. A basic fishing license would have increased from $9.50 to $13.50. The basic hunting license would have gone from $15 to $20. The Sportsman’s Paradise license plate for residents, which pays for hunting and fishing privileges, would have decreased from $100 to $90. A lifetime hunting and fishing license would have dropped from $1,000 to $800.</p><p class="p3">The LDWF website reported there are about 709,000 licensed fishermen and about 326,000 licensed hunters in the state.</p><p class="p3">Reps. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles; James Armes, D-Leesville; A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles; and Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings, voted for the bill. Reps. Stephen Dwight, R-Moss Bluff, and Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, were opposed.</p><p class="p3">The vote had 24 House members recorded as absent. Among them were Reps. Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur; Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek; and Frank Howard, R-Many. Hill is on medical leave.</p><p class="p3">Zeringue put off a vote on the bill on three occasions — April 5, 12 and 19 — in an effort to satisfy concerns expressed by some House members. Rep. Blake Miguez, R-Erath, was an outspoken opponent. He said it makes more sense to change the number of licenses and look at the fees in two years.</p><p class="p3">“This is a fee increase,” Miguez said in committee. “The description of this bill isn’t accurate.”</p><p class="p3">Jack Montoucet, secretary of LDWF, at that time said Miguez was upset because the department was closing an office in his area and consolidating it with the Lafayette office, according to a report by The Associated Press.</p><p class="p3">“You’re the one who preaches about cutting government, but when it happens in your backyard you’re against it,” Montoucet said.</p>

Local News

LAPAW in dire need of fosters, donations

Local News

Voting machine debate: Conspiracies question integrity of elections

Local News

Heart for volunteerism at core of Care Help for 40 years

Local News

Impairment, speed suspected in fatal crash

Crime

8/14: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

SW La. school lunch menus Aug. 15-19

Local News

Texas man dies when Peterbilt crashes

Business

Business, industry thought leaders George Swift and Daniel Groft optimistic about future of SW La.

Informer

The Informer: Mowing pad being created for cable barrier along I-210

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:A busy November in 1966

Crime

Civil rights attorney: Charges in newspaper attack should have been upgraded to hate crime, attempted murder

Local News

Welsh High’s LEAP scores among top in state

life

A grave task: Helping hands clean up, beautify historic Bilbo Cemetery

life

VIDEO: Volunteer work day to beautify Bilbo Cemetery

Crime

8/13: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

Lake Charles’ Got Talent: Today’s event pairs local celebrities with Barbe Bluebelles

Local News

Tropical cyclone development remains low across western Gulf

Local News

Portion of La. in Lake Arthur renamed in honor of Fox

Local News

Unrestrained passenger killed in single-vehicle crash

Local News

La. abortion ban holds in court once again

Crime

UPDATE: Husband, wife both charged with molestation, cruelty

life

Classes back in session: Lake Charles Charter begins 12th year

Crime

UPDATE: Reward offered in Oakdale homicide

life

Gerald Sims: A neighborly neighbor that others can count on