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Key hearing on Fish and Wildlife Commission bill

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on March 27, 2009 at 10:29 am with No Comments »
March 27, 2009 10:29 am

The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is to meet today at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the merits of Senate Bill 5127.

Recreational sportsmen should hope this is a short discussion because this bill has no merit.

The bill, the brainchild of Sen. Ken Jacobsen, is designed to gut the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.

It would reduce the size of the commission from nine to seven members, and return the power to appoint a director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the governor.

The current bill would reverse the current set up, as established by Referendum 45, approved by 61 percent of voters in 1995.

I’m trying to figure out how, all of a sudden, the commission is broken and requires a major overhaul. I feel it’s the perception that the current commission is now leaning toward recreational anglers that have commerical fishermen and their allies demanding change.

Proponents of the change say commissioners lack the expertise to manage the complex fishery issues. Were the commerical folks making this argument five years ago? Has the commission suddenly become less smart?

It is frustrating that the bill has made it this far. Let’s hope it ends today. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact your representative and let them know how you feel about this proposal.

I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.

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