Bill to place Mississippi’s Wildlife in public trust passed by house

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

JACKSON — A bill written by Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee Chairman Bill Kinkade’s to place Mississippi’s wildlife in the public trust was passed in the House Tuesday afternoon by 117 yes votes. The legislation now moves on to the senate. 

“We have been very blessed in this state with a robust wildlife environment. It is our mission in our committee to realize that and we put in place ways to safeguard the wildlife,” Kinkade said. “This is a public trust doctrine. We are bringing it up to speed.” 

Kinkade was asked a question about if the bill would affect deer hunters who use dogs negatively. He said the bill would not affect deer hunters who use dogs. 

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HB 43 would amend Mississippi code of 1972 to state that “the wildlife in Mississippi belongs to the citizens of the state at large and to provide that the state has a duty to protect and sustain its wildlife for the public’s benefit as well as the duty and authority to defend the public’s interest in the state’s wildlife in accordance with sound scientific principles and for related purposes.”

Kinkade had similar legislation die in committee last year. Due to the election year the legislation did not get pushed through but he promised to bring similar legislation forward again in 2024 and did so in January.

“We are going to make sure the wildlife is protected in this state. It is a public property and we want to keep it as a public entity,” Kinkade said in The Daily Leader in February 2023. 

This legislation would add wildlife to a list of things the state should promote. Currently, Mississippi code states “It is, and shall be, the public policy of this state to promote hunting, trapping and fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities and to preserve these activities for all generations to come.”