We don’t yet have the titles or details of the expected 2000 bills that legislators will propose (except of course my 12 bills that I’ve already told you about), but I am getting information daily on some of the fish, wildlife, conservation, and environmental bills that will be considered.
Rep. Peter Lyford tells me he has submitted a moose bill that will:
Eliminate subpermittees on moose hunting permits (to keep 2 and 3 year olds out)
Eliminate cow moose hunts (as they may be pregnant).
He also has sponsored a bill to open King Pond to smelting (as there are no salmon there).
Rep. Bryan Hubbell has submitted a very interesting and provocative fisheries bill. An Act Related to Management and Stocking of Inland Fisheries is a “concept draft” to reorganize the fisheries division so that it matches the organizational structure of the wildlife division including combining all fisheries managers under one roof, presumably in Augusta.
Rep. Hubbell’s bill would also create a 5-year sunset provision on all fisheries management rules and all stocking plans, meaning they would have to be reconsidered and reenacted every five years.
Downeast hunting activist Mike Look published a column in the January/February issue of the SAM News about a bill he has been championing for several years to create antler-point restrictions for Maine deer hunters. He says a bill has been submitted to achieve this.
I have also heard that at least one bill will open up a discussion of problems in the Maine Warden Service. There’s even been talk of merging the Warden Service with the State Police.
We do have the titles of bills that will be proposed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, although they have been unwilling to give us any details about these. Here are the titles:
An Act To Correct and Clarify Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Laws
An Act To Update Maine’s Fishing Laws
An Act To Clarify Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Licensing and Registration Laws
An Act To Clarify and Enhance Maine’s Wildlife Laws
An Act to Increase the Integrity of Maine’s Professional Guide License Holders
An Act To Offer Hunters over 65 Years of Age Who Have Accumulated at Least 30 Points a Lifetime License
An Act Regarding the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Board
Clearly, we need to pay attention to what is happening in Augusta!