Sunday, May 7, 2017

Legislature bows to outfitters' lobby Billings Gazette

Legislature bows to outfitters' lobby

The Montana Outfitters and Guides came into the 2017 legislative session with their big agenda of slashing regulations, giving more hunting tags to non-residents so they can sell exclusive trophy hunts and stiffing seasonal guides out of overtime and worse yet, legislation to allow outfitters to not pay them minimum wage. Unfortunately, one of the Laurel area legislators brought HB496 at the request of MOGA to remove minimum wage requirements. Is Vince Ricci, Laurel, one of the new sweethearts of MOGA?
At the same time, MOGA stood up and railed on sportsmen who sue to open public roads to public lands.
MOGA’s lobbyist blasted the Public Land and Water Access Association this session, saying they try to “force” access to public land by suing people when they gate public roads. PLWA is made up of volunteers who are very much everyday hunters and fishermen who just want to get to public land and water. They sue only when they have to, and only when someone is blatantly cutting off a public road that provides access.
On the other hand, MOGA has made it clear that it’s OK to block the public from its public waters and lands. Must have something to do with some of its members who have carefully blocked off thousands of acres of public land to sell expensive hunts on them.

MOGA has the Republican Party to do its bidding in the Legislature. Remember who’s on the side of hunters the next time you step in the voting booth.
Jason O’Rear


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