Senate committee will not call up “public trust,” wildlife bill

Published 2:04 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

JACKSON — Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Senate committee chairman Neil Whaley told committee members they would not call up a house bill placing wildlife in the public trust. The committee met Wednesday afternoon in a live broadcast meeting.  

“We have done a lot of research on this bill and like the bill before us, the wrong code sections were used when drafting the bill. There are no definitions within this bill,” Whaley said. “It would effectively do nothing. I wanted to update the committee on where we are at. That way if you had questions from the outdoor world you could give insight on where we are at with that bill.”  

House Bill 43 written by Rep. Bill Kinkade would provide that the state has a duty to protect and sustain wildlife for the public’s benefit.

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If passed, 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.

The deadline for the committee report on House Bill 43 is April 2.