Removing the tracking collar from a hunting dog that wanders onto your property would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and 10 days in jail, according to a bill discussed in a Senate subcommittee Wednesday.
The bill has passed the House. It began its route through the Senate with a stop in an agriculture subcommittee. Hunting dog owners say the proposal is necessary because angry neighbors remove expensive tracking collars and destroy them or throw them into creeks, according to state Rep. Bill Hixon, R-Aiken, who introduced the bill.
One landowner told the panel the bill is unnecessary. Scott Major, who hunts on property he owns in Orangeburg County, said existing larceny laws would cover the theft of collars.
Subcommittee members delayed moving the bill on to the full committee while they work on changes. Most notably, they want to require dog owners to list their name, address and phone number on collars to make it easier to contact owners when dogs stray. A similar requirement was deleted from the contentious Renegade Hunter Act, which passed two years ago.
In other outdoors-related moves, the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee approved tweaks in Wildlife Management Area hunting regulations and a trapping bill that would remove barriers to hunting and trapping coyotes. The increase in the number of coyotes in the state concerns wildlife officials, and some think hunters can help keep the coyote population in check. “We’re not going to have any wild turkey or quail if we don’t do something about coyotes,” said state Sen. Dick Elliott, D-Horry.
Senators consider ‘light bulb freedom’ bill
An environmental group wants S.C. state senators to reject a bill meant to trump federal energy standards for light bulbs.
The proposal passed by the House last year would allow S.C. manufacturers to make and sell traditional incandescent bulbs only in the state. It is in response to a federal law requiring 100-watt bulbs to be more energy efficient.
Ryan Black of the Coastal Conservation League told a Senate panel on Wednesday the bill circumvents federal efforts to promote innovation and save electricity. He said some new incandescent bulbs meet the efficiency standard.
State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, said the government shouldn’t tell residents what kind of light bulb they can buy. No action was taken. Bryant’s subcommittee advanced the bill last year. It is awaiting debate in full committee.
Budget advisers make no change to projections
South Carolina’s budget advisers say their state revenue projections are holding up.
The state Board of Economic Advisors voted Wednesday to stay with predictions it made in November, when the board said the improving economy would add $900 million to the state’s revenues. Legislators use the board’s forecast to write the state budget. The House budget-writing committee begins debate on the state’s 2012-13 budget next week.