Six forest-related bills have been introduced into the 2019 Indiana General Assembly: four IFA supports, and two we oppose.
1) Senate Bill 610 * authored by Sen. John Ruckelshaus (R-Indianapolis) (and supported by Sen. Eric Bassler, Sen. Jim Tomes, and Sen. Mark Stoops) would create a state forest commission that will propose a 100-year plan for the balanced management of Indiana state forests. The bill also mandates public input into the plan.
Read IFA’s blog post about this bill.
View or download a one-pager with the bill’s highlights.
*** TAKE ACTION: Call the Senate switchboard at 800-382-9467 (hours 8:30-4:45, Mon-Fri) to ask your senator to advocate to Sen. Sue Glick to give this bill a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee she chairs.
2) Senate Bill 305 * authored by Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) would require a cost-benefit analysis for timber sales. This bill addresses the lack of transparency in state forest decision making, one of the key recommendations in IFA’s recent report “Concealed Costs and Hidden Values”).
3) Senate Bill 286 * authored by Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) would create 13 State Wild Areas where logging would not be allowed — a proposal that IFA has been lobbying for since 2014.
4) House Bill 1376 * co-authored by Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) provides more monies for conservation of critically important lands, waters and wildlife. Read more about this exciting bill on the Hoosier Environmental Council’s website.
5) House Bill 1531 * authored by Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington) would strip local governments of any regulatory power over logging or mining on private land.
6) House Bill 1407 * authored by Rep. Shane Lindauer ( R-Jasper) would establish bobcat hunting and trapping seasons–something that the Natural Resources Commission declined to do last year after great public opposition. The Center for Wildlife Ethics has an excellent blog post on the real story behind this bill.
SUPPORTING MATERIAL TO VIEW or DOWNLOAD:
EDITORIAL by Economist Morton Marcus: Our Forests Protect Our Future (appeared in papers statewide January 2019)
The Indiana League of Women Voters’ 22-page position paper on state forests and a two-page summary of the paper.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD:
- Contact your state senator to ask they support pro-forest legislation. Click here to find out who your senator is.
- Attend “Third House” (aka town hall) meetings with state legislators in your area and raise the forest issue in public. These meetings are usually hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau or League of Women Voters and allow legislators to hear the concerns of their constituents.
- Thank your lawmaker if you know s/he is in support of pro-forest legislation.