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Heinert bill would allow two rods/lines per angler

| January 23, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

State Rep. Ralph Heinert's a fly-fisherman.

Always has been.

"I've been a stream and lake fisherman and I've tied my own flies for years and years," said Heinert.

For that reason, the Libby Republican lawmaker's motives for recently introducing legislation that would allow anglers to use two rods and two lines while fishing on lakes and reservoirs from a boat or along a bank is not self-serving.

"I just want to make it consistent with the state," Heinert said.

He expects the legislation to get of committee so Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission can enforce it.

In central and eastern Montana, anglers in boats or on the banks of reservoirs or lakes are already allowed to use two rods and two lines.

"This law goes back years and years except for western Montana. It's a fairness issue not only for fisherman on the western side," Heinert said.

Sometimes anglers from other parts of Montana come here assuming the regulations are the same, and that creates problems.

Ron Aasheim, administrator of communication and education for FWP in Helena, said lawmakers can mandate the legislation.

"We have no problem with this," Aasheim said. "We're just waiting for it to pass."

In other matters, Heinert sponsored a bill requiring individuals charged with a felony to submit DNA samples if there is probable cause

The bill died in committee last week.

"It's really too bad, but I understand why," Heinert said. "What I was trying to accomplish with that bill was to provide the ability to do DNA samples based on probable cause."

State law currently requires a conviction to get DNA samples.

Heinert said DNA evidence could help clear innocent suspects much sooner in the legal process and pointed to the three Duke University lacrosse players on trial on charges of attacking an exotic dancer in North Carolina. Rape cases against the three were recently dropped, although each still faces sexual assault charges.

The attorney general's office had its own concerns. Bill Unger of the Forensic Sciences Division said the workload for the state crime lab in Missoula would nearly double to about 350 DNA cases a month. He said the lab would need two additional forensic scientists, each with salaries of $75,000 a year, to handle the extra work.