game and fish commissioners; appointment
Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HB2235
Sponsor: JP Weiers, Gowan, Montenegro and Patterson
Legislative Session: 2009 Legislative Session
HB2235 game and fish commissioner; appointment requires appointees to the Game and Fish Commission to have a hunting license or a combined hunting and fishing license for five years prior to being appointed to the Commission. It also requires that they be registered with the same political party for five years and they must be a resident of Arizona for 10 years. It makes all the application information for the Commission public information, which is probably the only part of the bill that is okay.
While the interests who dreamed up this legislation will try to characterize those who oppose it as anti-hunting, this bill is not about that. There are many interests who support responsible hunting that are opposed to this bill, including the Game and Fish Commission itself. It is about disqualifying people for the Commission who are knowledgeable about wildlife by setting an arbitrary and unfair standard. It is about creating divisions among conservation interests. It is about excluding people who would otherwise do a fine job on the Commission. We should be encouraging rather than discouraging public service on this commission.
Wildlife is managed as a public trust resource by the Game and Fish Commission and Department. It does not belong to anyone or any group in particular. Setting bag limits for the take of wildlife is one small part of the Commissions responsibility. They work on habitat issues, education, and yes, nongame wildlife issues, including species recovery. The key qualification for commissioners is what is currently in the statute which requires that they shall be well informed on the subject of wildlife and requirements for its conservation.
To view the bill and see a more detailed status, click on HB2235
Thank you to everyone who took the time to call or email and ask the members of House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee to oppose HB2235! Your efforts made a difference. They got lots of calls and emails in opposition to the bill. Because of this and the opposition by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and several hunter/angler groups, Representative Jerry Weiers decided to hold the bill and not hear it. He said he was not going to try and move it this session, but did say he wanted to work on something for next year, so we will have to do our best to be included in that discussion.
If you have a chance to contact Representative Jerry Weiers and thank him for pulling the bill, that would be great. You might also let him know of your continued interest in ensuring that commissioners are knowledgeable about wildlife, wildlife habitat, and conservation of both, but not in standards that are intended to exclude qualified candidates. You can reach Representative Weiers at (602) 926-5894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or email@example.com