Strange things, strange reports coming out of Augusta. Yes, there are reports of unanimous bipartisan agreement on a bill; no, two bills in committee. Democrats and Republicans alike found common ground to kill two bills in committee that would have increased the financial burden upon the people of Maine; more specifically, the hunters and sportsmen of Maine.
The first bill to discuss was LD 89. This bill was put forth to establish a penalty for Mainers if they did not register their snow machines by a certain date. The sole sponsor of the bill was Senator Doug Thomas.
If LD 89, An Act to Establish a Deadline for Snowmobile Registration, had been approved by the committee, it would have set a deadline for snow machine registration at December 31st and, if any Mainer had been so disobedient to mother government as to miss the set deadline, they would be punished with an additional $20 fine added to the registration fee. This is just another blatant money grab by our government. Thankfully, Paul Davis, the rest of the Republicans, and amazingly, all the Democrats on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted in unison to kill the bill. At least someone had the backs of rural Maine.
But there’s more. Doug Thomas has co-sponsored a bill with Dennis Keschl , LD 153, that would create a comprehensive hunting and fishing license. Sound’s like a great idea at first glance and some sportsmen’s’ blogs were in support, but, when one delves into the bones of the bill, the details reveal just another money grab.
Further, research shows that hunters will lose more than they will gain. First of all, studies show that over 70% of hunters, a strong majority, only hunt deer, so for a majority of hunters, this is a $13 increase. Bow hunters would be excluded from further deer hunting if they harvested a deer during bow season.
The long lists of items that are excluded from the “comprehensive” license belie the title. One thing is sure; deer hunters would be targeted for an increase. They are getting the proverbial…antler.
Remember hunters; there was a comprehensive license at one time. Government kept cutting specific hunts out of that license bringing us to this point today. They would repeat that process again. It’s always about getting more of your money.
Again, thankfully, the Republicans and Democrats voted with one voice, in the IF&W, to kill this bill. It is amazing that a Senator who is supposed to represent the voters in the foothills of the 100 mile wilderness would sponsor bills that could penalize businesses so integral to the 2nd District: hunting and snow machining. Senator Thomas can find some solace in the fact that he had a unifying influence in Augusta. He sponsored and co-sponsored bills that were so egregious and punitive to the people of Maine that there was unanimous and bi-partisan consent to kill the bills in order to protect the people of Maine.