Missouri lawmakers bring back poaching restitution bill

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers have reintroduced a proposal that would allow judges to order poachers to pay restitution fees ranging from $375 to $5,000.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the two identical bills filed in the Missouri House and Senate could gain more traction among lawmakers this year considering three recent cases in which elk were illegally killed.

Under the proposed legislation, the fees vary depending on whether poachers were convicted for illegally killing deer, elk, black bears, turkeys or paddlefish. The restitution money would go toward the state’s education fund.

Republican Sen. Mike Bernskoetter says the state’s maximum fine for poaching can be less than the cost of a hunting license, so many poachers take their chances.

The bill passed the House last year but died in a Senate committee.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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