Sunday, April 08, 2018

House Committee to hear HB391 Tuesday

This Tuesday, the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedures will hear House Bill 391 by Rep. Kevin Pearson.  This bill prohibits anyone from restricting or prohibiting public navigation of running waters which are navigable by a motorboat.  The bill is strongly supported by Louisiana Sportsmen’s Coalition, and the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS). 

BASS is the world’s largest fishing organization, and frequently held their Classic in southeast Louisiana until several competitors were warned or cited for trespassing during the last event.  In recent years, the number of trespassing warnings and citations has skyrocketed as landowners - in many cases, "water owners" because most of the land is gone -  have seen value in leasing their water bottoms.

There is some common belief that the bill may be amended to make accomodations for duck hunters during season.  Based on Facebook responses, the vast majority of those who support HB391 would support such amendments.

There is one sportfishing group that opposes HB391. That's the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana, the state's largest sportfishing group.  Or was.  CCA-L at first expressed neutrality.  But this last week, they came out in opposition citing that they preferred that a "study group" be formed to come up with workable solution to this complex issue. 

The response to CCA-L announcement has risen the ire of anglers statewide.  All over Facebook, members are stating they will not renew or participate in this summer's CCA STAR and Ride The Bull tournaments.  Many are outraged that CCA changed their position and look at their proposal as "obstructive" and "stall tactics".  

What many are unaware of is that two of the biggest landowners in opposition to HB391 sit on the CCA-L state board.  It also should be noted that this is CCA-L, not CCA (national organization) which has a history of supporting tidal access.

For those who support HB391, there's still time to contact committee members and let them know your support.  These are committee chairman Raymond Garofalo, vice chairman Randal Gaines, Robby Carter, Raymond Crews, Gregory Cromer, Julie Emerson, Sam Jenkins, Taner Magee and Gregory Miller. For contact numbers, go to