Hinebauch should support amended SB 143

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Letter to the Editor:

Senator Hinebauch should stand with the Senate Majority in support of the amended version of SB 143. Prior to being amended, SB 143 took a limited public resource (17,000 nonresident elk licenses) and reserved 60% of those licenses to out of state hunters with a checkbook big enough to hire an outfitter. Let’s call a spade a spade- that’s outfitter welfare and stands in direct contrast with the Senator’s stated conservative values of limited government interference in a free market.

On top of that, the original version of SB 143 was a direct repudiation of the 2010 Montana Citizen’s Initiative I-161, an initiative that abolished outfitter sponsored licenses that passed with the majority of Montanans. The Senator would be wise to not repeal a citizens initiative. If his counterparts in the Legislature decided to repeal Montanan’s votes on the trapping ban initiative or the more recent LR-130, he would justifiably be upset.

The amended version of SB 143 is an example of not getting everything you want, but all parties walking away from the table pleased. It increases funding for public access projects paid for by nonresidents, provides a steady and stable supply of clients for the outfitter industry, and assures that people like my family members aren’t kicked to the back of the line behind people with the most money.

Jesse Schaaf