Today the House took up amendments to SB2242. Rep. Todd Porter, who sponsored HB1278 which has already been passed by the governor, introduced amendments to this bill after it became clear that some of the special interest groups named in his legislation to a board to advise the appropriations made it clear they’d likely pursue further changes to it through initiated measure, including more money and less oversight from elected leaders.
Here’s Rep. Porter making his argument on the floor of the House today (full debate here):
Democrats attempted to divide the amendment and keep the special interest groups – Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Natural Resources Trust – in the bill, but they were defeated. The bill ultimately passed unanimously in the House.
On Twitter, Rep. Kylie Oversen made a good point about special interest groups being named in the bill:
You really have to wonder at the wisdom of mandating a continuing appropriation for conservation to the tune of $30 million per biennium – whether we have a need for that much conservation or not – and then putting a group of specific special interests in place advise it.
Why some special interests, and not others? I think that naming specific groups in the law might be not be in keeping with legal notions about equal protection (we’re essentially endorsing some advocacy groups over others), and this whole idea is misguided.
Why not let appropriations for conservation be something handled every biennium by our elected leaders in the legislature?
Governor Dalrymple has already signed this bill. Rep. Porter’s changes will likely be passed as well. But proponents of private property rights are going to regret the day this boondoggle became law.