The Chapter was a critical player in defending the much-need 2021 DNR license fee increases from a legislative disruption. IN Chapter Board Members made phone calls to key legislators explaining the 3-year process the agency had already gone through, and the absolute necessity of the fee increases to prevent a fiscal crisis. Relationships with the General Assembly were enhanced through the Chapter's sponsorship of the Sportsman's Capitol Luncheon held in February 2022.
The Indiana Chapter was leader at the Fee & Licensure Working Group legislative study committee, attended by Representatives J. Michael Davisson, David Abbott, and Tim Wesco. The working group is recommending the the following to the 2023 General Assembly:
1) The Indiana General Assembly allocate license fee revenue from licenses sold by the Division of Fish and Wildlife to maximize the federal matching dollars the division can obtain.
3) The Indiana General Assembly allocate general funds or dedication some or all of the sales tax revenue collected on outdoor recreation gear to further fund the land management bureau within the Department of Natural Resources (fish and wildlife, forestry, state parks, nature preserves) to ensure the division can maximize federal matching dollars.
The Indiana Conservation Alliance, which the Indiana Chapter sits on the Steering Committee, is proposing the 2023 General Assembly invest $65 million a year of the state's financial surplus in Conservation Initiatives. The budget proposal includes: $25 million for Public Land Acquisition through the Pres. Harrison Conservation Trust, $8.6 million for soil conservation through Clean Water Indiana, an additional $5 million for Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) grants, $5 million for the Division of Fish and Wildlife to manage Species of Greatest Conservation Need, $10 million for State Parks to match LWCF funding, $10 million for the Division of Forestry, and $1.4 million for Nature Preserves.
Information and Content Submitted by Scott Salmon - Policy Chair for the Indiana BHA Chapter