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State Net Capitol Journal Legislative Updates: Hunting Bison in Montana and Deer in Indiana

ENVIRONMENT: The MONTANA House rejects SB 143, a bill that would have increased the number of hunting licenses for bison and prohibited the future relocation of the animals (HELENA INDEPENDENT RECORD]). • The INDIANA House approves SB 487, a bill that would allow the Hoosier State's five "high-fence" deer hunting preserves to remain in business. The measure, which sets rules for how those preserves must operate, moves back to the Senate (INDIANAPOLIS STAR). • On the last day of its session, ALASKA's Legislature passed a multibillion-dollar oil tax cut in the hopes of boosting production, which has been declining since the late 1980s. The Senate's approval of House changes to SB 21 came despite concerns that the potential impacts of the measure weren't completely understood and might send the state's budget deep into the red (ASSOCIATED PRESS, JUNEAU EMPIRE, STATE NET). • FLORIDA's House and Senate have voted unanimously to ease the rules on discharging treated sewage into the ocean. If signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R), the measure could save counties in South Florida $1.6 billion (MIAMI HERALD).

OH'S $500 OIL RESOURCE FRUSTRATING DRILLERS: The Utica Shale formation in eastern Ohio grabbed the national spotlight two years ago when the state's Department of Natural Resources estimated it held 5.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil, more than twice Yemen's oil resource and worth nearly $500 billion. But U.S. drillers that set up rigs on the region's rolling farmland are now selling off their acreage because production is not meeting up with the initial predictions.

"The results were somewhat disappointing," said Philip Weiss, an analyst with Argus Research. Early data, he said, is showing "it's not as good as we thought it was going to be."

"We have a lot to learn about producing from these shales," said Jeff Daniels, who runs Ohio State University's Subsurface Energy Resource Center. (BLOOMBERG.COM)

EXECUTIVE ORDERS: MINNESOTA Gov. Mark Dayton (D) issues EO 13-02, which declared a weather state of emergency in the Gopher State and which allows vehicles used to pump sewage from septic systems or used to transport sewage from septic systems to be exempted from the seasonal load restrictions on local and state highways and streets (STATE NET).

GOVERNORS IN BRIEF: Saying it would make long-term solutions to wolf predation costs harder to achieve, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch Otter" (R) vetoed a bill that would have forced the state Department of Fish and Game to divert up to $100,000 to a program aimed at managing the state's wolf population. Otter said the bill would have created a rift between sportsmen and ranchers (STATE NET, IDAHO STATE JOURNAL [BOISE]). • NEW JERSEY Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed SB 589, a bill that doubles the requirement for gross sales from land that an owner seeks to declare as farmland and imposes a fine up to $5,000 for those who knowingly violate the law. The measure was dubbed the "fake farmers" measure because it seeks to end the practice of large landowners' claiming a farmland assessment with a minimal amount of effort or sales (BERGEN DAILY RECORD).

WHEN IT RAINS, IT GOBBLES: After three years of trying, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback finally nailed a nice adult tom turkey last week. But as the Wichita Eagle reports, the story was far from over. As the governor later explained, he fired at a bird, which then escaped into the bushes. Moments later, he spotted it and finished it off. But wait, it turns out his second shot took out a different bird, which he figured out only after discovering the carcass of the first one. While that might normally be great luck, the governor had a permit to shoot just one turkey. He dutifully called a game warden and insisted he be given a ticket. His honesty will come with a price, with such violations typically garnering fines and fees of around $200. Although it was an honest error, he didn't try wiggling out of it, saying "I'll just have to pay...I did it."

- Compiled by RICH EHISEN

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