ATV Bill Enacted Without Governor's Signature

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A controversial bill that allows game wardens to stop and question ATV riders without suspecting them of violating a law has been enacted without the Governor’s signature.

Tom Doak over at the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine must be doing a jig around his office today. Mission accomplished. This bill has been a top priority for SWOAM for three years.

Last year game wardens sited only 56 ATV riders for operating on private land without permission. That could change now that wardens have the authority they sought to stop ATV riders anywhere anytime without suspecting they are violating any laws.

DIF&W Constitutional amendment Hits Roadblock

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Six votes. That’s how close we were in the House today to enacting the Constitutional amendment that would give the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife a small percentage of the sales tax.

This is the most important piece of legislation for DIF&W in decades. You can read my newspaper editorial column about it here.

To get on the ballot, a Constitutional amendment must garner a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. We did that last week in the Senate, getting exactly the 24 votes needed.

But today, House members cast 92 votes in favor, and 54 votes against. Ninety eight yes votes were needed. If the entire House is present, 101 votes are necessary.

Huge Issues Pending At Legislature

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This week brings clarity and finality to several huge issues for sportsmen and environmentalists at the legislature, and I’ll be there to keep you informed.

A Constitutional amendment that would give the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 1.25 percent of the sales tax won an amazing victory last week in the Senate, and is now in process in the House where it has already moved through two readings.

I’ve been working with Senator Dave Trahan, Tom Abello of the Nature Conservancy, and others on this issue, and was ecstatic when we mustered just enough votes (24) in the Senate to achieve the required two-thirds needed to send a Constitutional amendment to the people for a referendum vote. That didn’t come easy, and someday I’ll write the entire story.

Dunlap Leaving SAM in September

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Matt Dunlap will be leaving his job as interim executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in September.

 Dunlap moved from SAM’s board to the executive director’s job when the board fired the director it had hired when I stepped down last fall after serving for 18 years in that position. SAM was fortunate that Matt was available and I am disappointed that he will not be staying.

 I worked with Matt during his eight years in the legislature, where he was a champion for sportsmen and served on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. He also did a superb job as Maine’s Secretary of State, but when his Democratic colleagues lost their majority in the legislature last election, Matt was out of that job – and suddenly available to help SAM at a time when it desperately needed him.

 Dunlap made his decision to leave SAM without a new job in sight.

Quick Legislative Update

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A host of sportsmen’s issues are scheduled for debate and action this week, so I’ve started attending sessions of the Senate and House.

The bill that would allow game wardens to stop ATV riders without suspecting them of a law violation has been enacted and sent to the Governor. Several key people involved in this important issue are worried that the Governor may veto the bill, based on the Constitutional issue. If he does veto the bill, his veto is certain to be sustained in the Senate, where the bill was enacted by only a 3 vote margin. It takes two-thirds of each body to overturn a governor’s veto.

Raye's Deer Bill Wins Unanimous Vote

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The Maine Game Plan for Deer will get a significant boost with the adoption of LD 1569, the “deer bill” sponsored by Senate President Kevin Raye. The amended version of the bill won a unanimous “ought-to-pass” vote from members of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on Wednesday (May 25).

LD 1569 adds many elements to the Maine Game Plan for Deer announced a few months ago by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The amendment to LD 1569 embodies many of the recommendations created from a December workshop that I organized at the request of Senator David Trahan. Thirty six people participated in the workshop including five DIF&W staff members.

Vacationing at Augusta's Senator Inn & Spa

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Augusta
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You’ve probably eaten a meal or attended an event at Augusta’s Senator Inn & Spa, but have you ever vacationed there? We escaped to the Senator for a divine 24-hour weekend vacation not long ago.

Just 20-miles from home, we luxuriated in the Inn and Spa that manager Roger Bintleff calls “old fashioned,” in its focus on customer service. That it is, but the Senator is also on the cutting edge in comfort and technology.

 Linda

             Sometimes life just goes too fast. Before you know it one workweek blends into the next and you are trying to juggle household chores with your work life. Sound familiar?

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