The smoke has not yet cleared from the most recent edition of the legislature,
so it is difficult to say which bills, concepts, and tom-foolery got through.
But the move of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish
a computerized point-of-sale license setup made it with a last gasp effort.
As you may recall, the big rub evolved from the fact that the DNR was
seeking authorization by the legislature to spend more of a dedicated fund
(derived from the sale of lifetime hunting-fishing licenses) to finance
establishing a point-of-sale license program. The law which created lifetime
licenses and established the fund (now almost $20,000,000) provided that
the natural resources agency and satellite Division of Fish and Wildlife
(DFW) would be permitted to use only about 2.5 percent of the fund each
The DNR wanted to use its annual 2.5 percent windfall plus another $5,000,000
(roughly 25 percent) in one fell swoop. A bill which would have accomplished
that passed the house but was stalled in the Senate when it was not heard
by Sen. Lawrence Borst's Senate Finance Committee. Thus, as the clock wound
down toward sine die, the point-of-sale program appeared deader than the
Enter a conference committee which was considering House Bill (HB) 1552.
Wanting point-of-sale like a hog wants slop, DNR brass tackled members
of the conference committee and gained some backing. But Sen. Borst still
would have to approve, which he apparently did.
The bill still must gain the signatures of presidents of both the Senate
and the House of Representatives, and the Governor, but this is considered
So where, what, when, and how much?
Steve Sellers, chief of the DNR's tub thumpers, sifted through the legislative
ruins last Monday. While some facets of the scenario still are a bit foggy,
here is what he could tell me with some degree of certainty:
"A formal request for proposals to develop and provide a point-of-sale
license system is expected to be advertised by the state Dept. of Administration
in June (or possibly in late May).
"The system's development and implementation will be funded by the lifetime
license fund. The POS proposal was included in HB 1552, which was the DNR
Steve has, of course, said he will keep this department advised on the
proceedings, and you may be assured that this column will pass along the
My morel safaris and related outings have revealed that this is, indeed,
one of our strangest springs of recent years, and that such things as wild
asparagus, morels, pokeweed et al. operate on their own time clocks and
that theories that photosynthesis is the big factor may be as reliable
as a politician's promises on election day.
Many of the wildflowers have finished their spring rite of beautifying
the woodlands and that, in an ordinary spring, would mean it is time for
"big yaller" (yellow) morels. But as of last Friday I still was finding
fresh black morels without seeing "hide nor hair" of grays--much less yallers.
As of that date I had found only one gray and they have to be far into
the spring cycle before the big yallers bless our view. The predicted mid-week
rain could bring about the explosion of grays in central and northern parts
of the state. At least we can hope. Spearheads, or whatever you call them,
may also be influenced by rain.
In the meantime, some of my old standby wild asparagus patches have
emerged while others still are dormant . . . and pokeweed has not sent
up new growth at any of my spots.
The paw-paw bloom is showing great potential for a bumper crop of Indiana
bananas come fall.