The Conservation Federation of Missouri’s (CFM) is pleased to announce that House Bill 369, which includes the Prescribed Burning Act and other favorable conservation legislation was signed by Governor Mike Parson today. Representative Tim Taylor (R-Bunceton) sponsored HB 369 and worked hard with House and Senate members to ensure its passage. Senator Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City) sponsored a similar bill in the Senate and provided amendments to further additional conservation goals.
“The magnitude and impact that this will have on so many Missourians that care about the outdoors are almost unprecedented. CFM applauds the efforts of so many that made this historic legislation a reality. Along with our partners, members, affiliates and so many more, we are proud to help lead the effort to protect and enhance conservation, natural resources, and outdoor recreation for generations to come,” said Executive Director Tyler Schwartze.
As one of the first conservation-related omnibus bills in decades, HB 369 goes into effect on August 28th to create the “Prescribed Burning Act,” which defines liability as it relates to the use of prescribed fire. Before this legislation, Missouri was one of only five states that did not have such a definition in state statute. This will allow landowners and contractors to purchase liability insurance for conducting prescribed burns and increase the use of prescribed fire as a land management tool.
HB 369 also creates harsher penalties for the release of feral hogs in Missouri. Repeat offenders can now be charged with a felony for each feral swine that is released. Feral hogs are highly destructive to wildlife habitat and agricultural production alike. The increased penalties will help further reduce the number of feral swine on Missouri’s landscapes.
CFM President Mossie Schallon said, “With Governor Parson’s signature, HB 369 goes into effect next month and removes Missouri from the shortlist of states that do not have a definition for prescribed burning liability in their state statute. Thanks to all who worked so diligently to ensure this outcome.”
Also included are several measures that will protect landowners from liability for injuries incurred by recreational users. This benefits landowners adjacent to recreational public lands, campground owners, and those who invite third parties to provide wildlife management services on their property.
The Conservation Federation of Missouri, which celebrated its 85th anniversary last year, was founded by a citizen-led effort to keep politics out of conservation and preserve our state’s rich outdoor heritage. This effort that started in 1935, has pushed Missouri to be the top state in the nation for conservation. CFM, the voice for Missouri outdoors, is the watchdog over politicians and state agencies to ensure the conservation of our wildlife and natural resources.
For more information about the Conservation Federation of Missouri, to sign up for their Legislative Action Center, or to join in their citizen-led effort, visit www.confedmo.org.