Crappie and Roosters and Gators, Oh My!

May 21, 2014

With less than two weeks left in the session, bills are piling up in both chambers. While both the House and the Senate worked on shortening their stacks of paperwork Tuesday afternoon, critters became a recurring theme.

Over in the Senate, they were concurring on House-added amendments to Senate bills.

“Senate Bill number 369 by Senator Walsworth, an act to amend Title 56 to provide for possession and limit of crappie on Lake D’Arbonne,” Senate Secretary Glenn Koepp called out.

“It raises the limit from 25 back up to 50,” explained West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth.” I see no questions. Move final passage.”

That took care of the fishing, but what about the poultry? New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell asked for concurrence on his bill to increase the penalties for cockfighting.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would ask that we would concur in this so that we don’t have to hear any more about cockfighting or chicken boxing for the remainder of this session,” Morrell requested, amid laughter. Chuckle aside, his bill is now headed to Governor Jindal’s desk.

On the other side of the Capitol, the House took up Carencro Representative Stephen Ortego’s bill to permit kayaking and canoeing in the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.

“Have you talked to the staff who’s very scared of mama alligators attacking kayaks, and that they’re very much not in support of this bill?” asked Abbeville Representative Bob Hensgens.

Houma Representative Joe Harrison warned it wasn’t a safe or sensible idea.

“This area is really overpopulated with alligators,” Harrison advised.

But Ortego made it clear he felt boaters’ rights should trump the main purpose of the area—to provide a refuge for wildlife.

“If they’re such a pest, then maybe they should look at taking some,” Ortego suggested. “I’m sure we could make some nice boots and purses out of ‘em.”

An amendment was offered by Hammond Representative Chris Broadwater.

“This amendment just says that if any person decides to go out there and be eaten by an alligator, that they can’t go ahead and sue the state for personal injury or property damage.”

That amendment was approved, and ultimately common sense and safety won out, as the House voted down Ortego’s bill, 33-61.