Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
The weather has been quite the polar blast this last week and into this week. I hope you’re staying warm without too much difficulty. I’m sure almost everyone is using good judgement and limiting anytime spent outside.
On Monday, February 8th, I was part of a Natural Resources subcommittee for House Study Bill 157. Under this bill, hunters using a dog to track or harvest a fur-bearing animal must ask the property owner before the hunting dog is allowed to enter the property. A dog chasing a coyote through a farm with livestock such as cattle could cause problems.
On Wednesday, February 10th, I led a Natural Resources subcommittee for House File 406 and passed this bill onto the Nat. Resources full committee. This bill intends to allow nonresident deer hunters during the nonresident antlerless deer hunting season that runs from about Dec. 24th till January 2nd to be able to use a shotgun or rifle firing straight-wall ammunition. Over the last five years, the number of nonresident hunters buying a license for this season has declined each year: from 159 licenses in 2016 down to only 122 licenses in 2020, or a current average of 1.23 hunters per county for 10 days.
On Wednesday, I was the floor manager for the first time this year for House File 380, and it passed the full House unanimously, 94-0. It addresses the classroom instructions for student drivers’ education courses. Under the current law, four hours of classroom instruction are required concerning substance abuse. With this bill, these four hours will require instruction for substance abuse AND the hazards and dangers of distracted driving, such as with cell phones, other electronic devices, etc. I’m confident the instruction will help save lives by decreasing vehicle accidents.
Also, on Wednesday, I was the chair of another Transportation subcommittee for House File 30. We passed this bill on to the full Transportation committee, which allows golf cart operator exemptions for people with mental or physical disabilities to be able to operate a golf cart as long as a person with a valid drivers’ license is in the cart also.
On Thursday, I was part of a Transportation subcommittee where we passed onto the full committee House Study Bill 190. This bill does many things, including protocols of emergency vehicles in pursuit of a suspect, also the use of emergency vehicles in events approved by the state or municipality, such as parades and funerals. It also allows the driver of emergency vehicles more options of using the audible or visual signaling devices under certain conditions that will not endanger anyone.
Hope you are all keeping warm, safe, and healthy!