Monday, April 10, 2017

EMWH Legislative Update

Legislative Update April 10, 2017

FWP Director Confirmation - Hearing tomorrow, Senate Fish & Game Committee, Rm. 422, 3:00
Please attend the hearing to show your support, email the Senators or call 444-4800

SR 45 - Support - Confirm Governor's appointee as Director to Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
Below is a copy of my comments to the Senators supporting Martha Williams confirmation and article links.
Dear Senators, I would like to express my support for Martha Williams as the new FWP Director.

Ms. Williams law degree, in general, is a benefit to FWP, understanding the need to abide by regulation and statue. In particular, she has experience with Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, Property Law, Public Land and Natural Resources Law, Climate Law, all of which come into play with our FWP agency. Though a public agency overseeing public trust resources, private property is a part of our landscape with about 2/3 of our state being private land ownership. I feel Ms. Williams knowledge will aid all the stakeholders in this respect.

Having taught law, she also possesses the skills to communicate, which as Director, is a critical skill for those employed in FWP, as well as the many interagency and working group opportunities that arise. This skill is also a benefit in dealing with the general public and media opportunities for FWP.

She is not a complete stranger to FWP, having served as legal counsel for the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks from 1998 to 2011. So she will not be totally green entering this position. I feel this gives her a head start in getting up to speed.

Having been frustrated with a number of purely political events from FWP over the years, I am looking forward to Ms. Williams legal, analytical, law abiding perspective being applied to this agency. I hope that you will give her the opportunity to see what she can do for our public trust agency by confirming Martha Williams as our new FWP Director.

Thank you,

Kathryn QannaYahu

UM Assistant Professor Selected as State Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director
University of Montana - Martha Williams

Public Trust Resources
HB 651 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal.  An act revising laws related to public access projects; creating a public lands access advocate; providing duties; revising use of Wildlife Habitat Funding; providing an appropriation; amending sections 77-1-202 AND 87-1-242, MCA

SB 264 - Oppose - Vetoed by the Governor (woohoo), Revising rulemaking for reporting to Board of Outfitters. (reported on 3/15)

Trespass and Public Access Bills
SB 170 - Oppose , Missed deadline for transmittal,  "An act providing civil penalties for unauthorized operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle over real property; and providing an applicability date." This bill is modifying Title 70 Property, Chapter 16 Rights and Obligations Incidental to Ownership in Real Property, this section defines what property ownership means. (reported on 3/15 and 3/18)

SB 358 - Support - Missed deadline for transmittal. Revise laws regarding removal of highway encroachments. This was Sen. Cohenour's version of HB 295, but a little less of a daily fine - $250 a day for illegally blocking a public road.
HB 566 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal, Revise private property notice for trespass, still sitting in House Judiciary since the hearing was cancelled on 3/7. (reported on 2/28)
HB 231 - Opposed private land amendment. Transmitted to Governor, Since the amendment text was added back in, restoring private landowners requirement for posting and orange paint, the bill passed to the Senate, where the bill was amended again.  (reported on 2/28 and 2/31)
HB 295 - Support - Missed deadline for transmittal. Increase fine for gating a public road (reported on 2/11)

Parks Bills
HB 324 - Oppose - Sitting in the Senate Fish & Game since 3/16.  Revise laws related to state parks' administration. This bill unfortunately passed the House, was referred to the Senate Committee and is being heard tomorrow (reported on it on 2/19). Please send your comments to the Senators, addresses below.
HB 454 - Oppose, Missed deadline for transmittal   Revising the administration of state parks and related recreational programs(reported on it 2/23)

Hunting/Sportsmen related
HB 151 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal Appropriation for shooting range development program (Reported 2/13)
HB 315 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal Revising laws related to nonresident relative hunting and fishing licenses. (reported on 2/5)
HB 318 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal Revise nonresident college student big game combination license fee. (reported on 2/5)

Hunting Bills
SB 185 - Oppose - Passed Senate, Hearing before House Fish, Wildlife & Parks on 4/6. Authorize transfer of game to licensed outfitter for inspection purposes.

If you care about accountability, responsibility and transparency involving our public trust resources - please oppose this bill. This bill removes the FWP Commission requirement of certain game hunters, including outfitted/guided hunters of that animal, to have the mandatory inspection, instead transferring the animal over to the outfitter or guide. This can cause conflict for FWP and Enforcement, as to verification of who actually shot the animal. It is against the law for another to use of shoot for a person who purchased a license/tag, especially high profile species.This is  MOGA bill. Here is FWP's Chief of  Enforcement, Dave Loewen opposing statement submitted  at the Hearing.

Please email opposition to Representatives, addresses below.

HB 368 - Oppose - Returned to House w/ amendments. Revise laws related to nonresident hunting.
HB 568 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal . Revise laws related to nonresident hunting
HB 96 - Oppose - Missed deadline for transmittal . Revise free elk license/permit for landowner providing free public elk hunting  (reported on 2/5)

Public Lands
HJ 9 - Oppose - Returned to House w/ amendments,  Resolution supporting the release of certain wilderness study areas.  Please contact the Senators, emails below. (reported 2/19)

Public Water
HB 339  - Oppose - Scheduled for 2nd reading before Senate Natural Resources - Revise laws related to exempt appropriations of water (reported on 2/19)

Please email Senators, addresses below.

Constitutional Amendment
SB 236 - Oppose - Passed the Senate 30 to 20, on the 28th, Transmitted to the House, referred to House Judiciary Committee 3/30. Fielder's Constitutional referendum to safeguard right to hunt, fish, and trap wildlife. Current text. Various suggested text amendments have been proposed, from various sportsmens groups and the Sportsmens Caucus group, but nothing agreed on by all. Which speaks to me, that this bill (or one similar), which affects our Constitution, needs much more work and vetting before going before the legislature in such a rushed manner this year. (reported on 2/15)

Here is a link to former FWP Chief Legal Counsel, Bob Lane's, legal assessment, I post on Hunt Talk forum. It brings up a very important point I had not heard mentioned in this discussion, concerning resident and non-resident licenses, "SB 236 risks Montana’s ability to differentiate between residents and nonresidents in issuing or awarding hunting and fishing licenses. The risk SB 236 poses is significant and unavoidable. Passage of SB 236 could mean that resident and nonresidents will be required to pay the same license fees and compete equally when FWP limits the number of licenses available."

Please email Representatives, addresses below.

SB's 187 and 173  - Support - Both had hearings on 3/28 with House Fish, Wildlife & Parks. (Reported on 3/15)

Legislative call number 444-4800

Senate addresses below

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Senate email addresses,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Bozeman, MT

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