I have proposed seven bills for the 2015 legislative session. My wife Linda asked if it is normal for a private citizen to submit bills, especially seven of them, and, ahem, of course not! But I can’t help myself. I know it’s perverse, but I love the legislative process! Here are the summaries of my seven legislative proposals, sponsored by an outstanding group of legislators.
An Act to Establish a Comprehensive Hunting License, sponsored by Representative Mike Shaw. Description: Create a single comprehensive hunting license covering all hunting opportunities, and repeal all other hunting licenses and permits. This license will not include lottery applications or fishing licenses, except that a combination hunting and fishing license can be offered. Residents would pay $38 and nonresidents $144 for the comprehensive hunting license.
Resolve, Establishing a Commission to Study the Needs, Opportunities, and Efficiency Associated with the Production of Salmonid Sport Fish in Maine, sponsored by Representative Russell Black. Description: Create a Hatchery Commission to study fish stocking programs in other states and the costs and success of Maine’s hatchery program, and make recommendations that would improve the hatchery program. This would be similar to a Hatchery Commission created in 2000 that produced a final report to the legislature in 2004.
An Act to Expand the Landowner Relations Program at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, sponsored by Representative Ellie Espling. Description: This will substantially expand the landowner relations program now housed in the Maine Warden Service. It includes a new Keep Maine Clean program, an extensive outreach program to recreationists who use private lands to encourage good landowner relations, and a new commission to oversee and direct the landowner relations program.
An Act to Market Maine’s Hunting and Fishing Opportunities, sponsored by Representative Robert Duchesne. Description: Create at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a comprehensive marketing plan and program, and implement some of the recommendations from a 2004 study group and a 2011 Non-resident Hunter Task Force.
An Act to Simplify and Clarify Hunting and Fishing Laws and Rules, sponsored by Representative Matthew Pouliot. Description: Establish a Commission, organized by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and led by Maine’s nonprofit organizations, to constantly review hunting and fishing laws and rules and make recommendations to simplify, clarify, or eliminate them. This proposal includes annual surveys of anglers and hunters on key issues. The survey would be created by the Commission with input from DIF&W’s staff, and distributed to licensed hunters and anglers by DIF&W.
An Act to Simplify Turkey Hunting, sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello. Description: Authorize tagging of turkeys on the website of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or via telephone to the agency. Require all DIF&W tagging stations to tag turkeys. Add turkey hunting to both the big game and small game hunting licenses, and eliminate the turkey hunting permit and fee. Extend the bag limit to three turkeys of either sex for the fall season.
An Act to Expand Deer Hunting Opportunities for Junior Hunters, sponsored by Representative Gary Hilliard. Description: Authorize a junior hunter who is hunting with an adult who has an any-deer permit to shoot a doe and use the adult’s any-deer permit to tag the deer. The adult would give up his or her opportunity to shoot a deer.