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House passes bill on conservation intiatives

April 29, 1999
By: Edward Klump
State Capital Bureau
Links: HJR 26

JEFFERSON CITY - Initiative petitions on conservation issues would be tougher to pass under a bill approved by the House on Thursday.

The plan, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Crump, D-Potosi, would require a two-thirds majority on initiative proposals relating to fish, wildlife and forest management. It passed 83-54.

Crump said the plan would keep important conservation decisions in the hands of experts at the Conservation Department. Although the bill must move through the Senate in the next two weeks, he said the House vote was a big first step.

"The sportsmen know they are outnumbered," he said. "I think they just want some way to protect themselves."

Rep. Barbara Fraser, D-St. Louis County, is one lawmaker who voted against the plan. Fraser said she has confidence in the department, but that the initiative petition is too important to have limitations.

"The people's initiative clearly is the people's right to oversee government," she said. "A super majority makes it almost impossible for the people to oversee the Conservation Department."