This is a preliminary list of bills I am thinking of proposing for the 2017 legislative session. I’d appreciate your reaction to any or all of these. Please email your thoughts to me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Exotic Animals: Require permits for all non-native animals and require notification of the Maine Warden Service and any neighbors within range of an exotic animal that escapes.
Feral Cats: Forbid the release of feral cats into the wild.
Hatcheries: Organize a Hatchery Commission to study all issues and make recommendations, before spending more than $100,000 to upgrade, expand, or repair existing hatcheries. This bill will include a list of issues and questions for the Commission to tackle.
Fall Fishing: Expand catch-and-release fall fishing statewide to the month of October. Include a program like Montana’s that automatically closes waters when temperatures reach a certain high level.
Landowners: Require landowner permission to remove anything from private land, including wild crops like mushrooms and fiddleheads.
Licenses: Create a comprehensive hunting and fishing license that includes all hunting and fishing opportunities. And allow all license agents to sell lifetime licenses, with clarification of identification required.
DIF&W Funding: a Constitutional amendment requiring 1/3 of the budget of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to come from the General Fund’s non-DIF&W funding.
Fishing Rules: Establish a Commission to simplify and clarify fishing laws and rules.
Wild Game Dinners: Legalize charging people to eat wild fish and game.
Heritage Fish: Extend protection (including no stocking) of our Heritage Fish waters to include all tributaries leading into or out of those waters.
Marketing: Establish a marketing position at DIF&W, with a budget of $250,000.
Fisheries Division: Reorganize DIF&W’s Fisheries Division to match the Wildlife Division, with species specialists and less autonomy in the regions.
Turkeys: authorize online and phone-in tagging, eliminate fees and permits, include turkeys in big and small game hunting licenses, and expand the bag limit to 3 male birds in the spring and 5 birds of either sex in the fall.