President’s message – George Vandel, Pierre

February 2019

As mentioned in my October 2018 message, I registered as a lobbyist for the SD Waterfowl Association for the 2019 SD Legislative Session.  I have attend several days of the session and have attempted to meet and introduce myself to as many Legislators as possible.  I have also monitored bills in the session as they pertain to our association and in general with conservation issues.

At least one bill has finally surfaced that needs our attention – HB 1152 referred to as the “outfitter” bill.  Basically passage would establish a permitting system for waterfowl outfitters.  A waterfowl outfitter would need to apply annually, describe the private land they would be hunting on, pay an annual fee of $200 for a resident waterfowl outfitter and $2,000 for a nonresident waterfowl outfitter, comply with additional rules such as proof of liability insurance, establish a sales tax license and not having been convicted of a hunting violation over the past 3 years.

Here is a link to the full text: http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1152&Session=2019

I would like your feedback on whether or not our association, specifically me as your president and lobbyist, should oppose or support this legislation.  Due to the lateness of this being fully introduced, I finally received a copy of the entire bill today.  It will likely involve committee action next week – I assume the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee. Therefore I need your input by no later than the evening of Monday, Feb. 11th.

Please look over the bill and give me some brief feedback as soon as possible.  E-mail me at gvan3@pie.midco.net or text or call me at 605-295-2880.  I would also encourage you to contact your individual Legislators with your opinions on HB 1152.

This bill is being introduced on behalf of Flatland Flyway Outfitters and Dennis Russo.

I have been told that GFP will likely support the bill and that it would be signed by Gov. Noem if passed by the Legislature.  If I find out more about this bill I will relay it.

Our main issues 1) expanding and increasing quality waterfowl hunting access opportunities in South Dakota 2) maintaining quality waterfowl hunting in our state by balancing nonresident waterfowl hunter numbers such that they not create undue conflicts with resident waterfowl hunters and 3) to ensure that commercialization of waterfowl hunting in South Dakota remains low.

Board: John Simpson – Pierre, Spencer Vaa – Brookings, Tom Yseth – Brookings and Bill Koupal – Pierre.  Bobby Cox will serve as Secretary Treasurer and Chuck Dieter will serve as Past-president.