In an effort to actually put some money where the Governor’s mouth is on habitat development, Senator VJ Smith (R-7/Brookings) offers Senate Bill 75, a measure to require hunters and fishers to buy a habitat stamp. Residents would pay an additional $10 a year for the privilege of killing critters; non-residents would pay $25.
Hey, since the Legislature is moving SB 180 along, maybe for non-residents we should change the SB 75 stamp to a badge and require the non-resident hunters to wear those badges in the field, so we can distinguish them from resident hunters.
The fee increase on armed outdoor enthusiasts sailed out of Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources 8–0 and the full Senate 28–4. In House Agriculture and Natural Resources Tuesday, the only opponent who testified in the Senate, Angela Ehlers from the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts, appears to have flipped and joined the proponents. But SB 75 struggled on that committee vote 8–5.
The new habitat stamp awaits House action. We’ll see how many conservatives in the larger chamber notice that, yet again, Republicans are promoting the idea of taking more money out of South Dakotans’ pockets to create more public goods.