Legislative Action Alert: Contact the Senate Conservation Committee About SB 266, SB 267, and SB 286 Today!
Update from the legislature today! Please contact all members of the Senate Conservation Committee and state your opposition to Senate Bill 266, Senate Bill 267, and Senate Bill 286. If you are a constituent of one of the members, please point it out to them. If you have friends or family who are constituents of these legislators, please pass this on to them!
Three bills are currently scheduled before the Senate Conservation Committee for hearings tomorrow morning (Thursday, Feb. 16) at 8:30 am in room 311 of the Roundhouse. If you plan on showing up in person to oppose these bills, plan on getting there early as the room will more than likely be packed.
The New Mexico Wildlife Federation opposes these bills:
Senate Bill 266, "State Game Commission Mission and Purpose," Sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn. This bill significantly alters decades-old statutes defining the mission of the State Game Commission and the bill would empower the commission to select and protect species not currently listed under legislative statutes. It does not identify new revenues to support the additional personnel and expenses that would come with the new responsibilities. The general concept may have merit, but this bill is too broad and does not provide new, adequate, and permanent funding. Hunter, angler, and trapper license dollars would have to financially support these new initiatives.
Senate Bill 267, "Protection of fur-bearing animals and coyotes," Sponsored by Senator Jeff Steinborn. This bill would add coyotes and skunks to the list of protected furbearers, automatically imposing major new responsibilities on the Department of Game and Fish. Coyotes, as major livestock predators, bring big liabilities, expenses, controversies, and litigation. The Game and Fish Department would also have to begin responding to complaints about nuisance skunks – a not-funny expense and drain on officer time and personnel resources. Again, there is no new, dependable/permanent funding source, and license buyers would have to pay the tab.
Senate Bill 286, "NM Wildlife Protection & Public Safety Act," Sponsored by Senator Pete Campos. This bill would completely ban traps and poisons on public lands. NMWF supports regulated, ethical trapping by individuals and sees trapping as a necessary component to livestock protection and game management. This bill has numerous flaws, especially as it ties the hands of the Game and Fish Department in dealing with predation on bighorn sheep, as one example. Its definitions of public lands and prohibited traps are alarmingly broad and restrictive.NMWF has repeatedly recommended that stakeholders, the State Game Commission and Game and Fish Department review and amend trapping rules to reduce conflicts. A few of many potential other solutions to explore include: mandatory trapper methodology and ethics courses for all license holders; increased setbacks of traps from public trails, roads and facilities; closing high-conflict areas to trapping; setting quotas or bag limits on bobcats; limiting trapping to residents only; severe fines for unlicensed trapping and/or setting traps in closed areas or without proper trap identification as mandated by current law.
Here are the members of the committee, contact them today if you oppose these bills!
Joseph Cervantes, Committee Chair
Elizabeth Stefanics, Committee Vice Chair
Ron Griggs, Member
Richard C. Martinez, Member
Cisco McSorley, Member
William H. Payne, Member
William P. Soules, Member
Peter Wirth, Member
Pat Woods, Ranking Member
Thank you for your continued support, and stay tuned for more updates as the session continues!