Sunday, February 21, 2010

WWF Calls for a Strong Bipartisan Vote on DNR Secretary Bill Veto Override

Poynette: Today, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation comprised of 168 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organizations is calling on members of the Assembly of both political parties to vote on Tuesday for the override of the Governor’s veto of Assembly Bill 138, the bill that restores the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary back to the Natural Resources Board.

AB 138 was introduced on March 9, 2009 by sixty-eight legislators, sixteen Republicans and fifty-two Democrats. The bill passed the Assembly on September 2009 with a strong bipartisan vote of 61 to 32 with forty-nine Democrats and twelve Republicans voting in favor. The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan 21 to 11 vote with sixteen Democrats and five Republicans voting in favor.

A virtually identical bill, AB 504 was introduced in the last session of the Legislature by Republican Representative Scott Gunderson. That bill had forty-nine sponsors, with twenty-five Democrats and twenty-four Republicans.

“This issue should not be a partisan issue, 90 percent of Wisconsin sportsmen and women have repeatedly made a strong statement that Assembly Bill 138 as it is currently written should be passed into law,” stated John Nissen, (Dousman), President of the Wildlife Federation. “This should not be a partisan political issue, the sportsmen and women in this state view this issue as what is good for natural resource management in Wisconsin, not what political advantages can be gained.”

“Unlike the Board-appointed system, Wisconsin’s sportsmen and women have seen repeated turnover of Governor-appointed Secretaries with the average tenure being three years. We have seen the last two Secretaries become appointed with literally zero days of natural resource management experience and we have seen a Secretary replaced because he had the courage to make an enforcement decision that was unpopular with the Governor’s staff, indicated Ralph Fritsch, (Townsend), Past President of the WWF. “Wisconsin did not have these major problems under the Board appointed system that we had in place between 1928 and 1995. This inexperience and rapid turnover is contributing to the serious natural resource management problems that we are experiencing in the state with deer, wolf and bear management.”

“The Wildlife Federation is asking for legislators of both parties to look past minor issues such as whether other bills should be passed first or the minor amendment added to AB 138 by the State Senate and to stand strong with their sportsmen and women to override the Governor’s veto of the bill. It is time to restore experienced, professional natural resource leadership to the top of the Department of Natural Resources,” stated George Meyer, WWF Executive Director.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is made up of one hundred and sixty-eight hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organizations in Wisconsin.

The Federation is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policies. For further information, contact George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at 608-516-5545.

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