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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Dead: "The notoriously divisive bill to legalize and regulate high-fenced deer hunting"

Niki Kelly reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

The notoriously divisive bill to legalize and regulate high-fenced deer hunting failed by a vote of 23-27 in the Senate on Tuesday – officially killing any movement on the topic for this legislative session.

House Bill 1453 would have authorized only the existing four captive hunting preserves to operate in Harrison, Marshall, Kosciusko and Blackford counties. [ILB: although these could have been moved to other locations]

But the distaste of breeding deer for large racks and charging hunters high prices to shoot them behind a fence proved too strong.

“It’s very simple. This is not hunting,” said Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon. “That is a slaughter, folks.”

Senate President Pro Tem David Long said the bill was “decisively defeated” and cannot be put into other legislation in any form this year.

“It’s dead,” he said.

Advocates argued that without the bill, the preserves can operate in any way they please because the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled this year that the Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have authority to regulate privately owned deer, though the legislature does. Attorney General Greg Zoeller has appealed.

“This provides a rigid framework for four existing preserves,” said Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange. “Without this bill, there is no regulation in place.”

That makes a decision by the Indiana Supreme Court on pending litigation huge. The legal battle has been ongoing for 10 years.

If the court agrees to accept an appeal and sides with the DNR, the preserves would be shut down and no new ones could open. If the court agrees with the appellate ruling, the preserves can exist with no rules until the legislature can act next year.

The issue always stirs emotions in the Statehouse, and Tuesday’s debate was no different. The Senate also killed the bill last year.

Here is Ryan Sabalow's story in the Indianapolis Star.

Here is some background from the ILB:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 15, 2015 09:20 AM
Posted to Indiana Government