TEAM SWFA - Admin
Bills in Montana Threaten To Divert Wildlife Funding
Two bills have been introduced in Montana that would divert funds away from the state Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). Multiple others are still awaiting introduction.
Senate Bill 83, introduced by Sen. John Brenden (R- Scobey), requires the FWP to reimburse the Montana Department of Transportation for costs associated with the removal of road killed animals from public roads.
Unless the FWP is given money from the state’s general fund, this will likely result in the agency being forced to spend monies from the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses to cover the costs.
“If general license revenue is diverted to pay for SB 83, not only will sportsmen bear the costs for the entire state’s road kill clean up but it will put in jeopardy millions in federal funding the FWP receives each year,” said Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services.
Senate Bill 84, also introduced by Sen. Brenden, requires all amounts collected from fines, penalties, and restitution for violations of state parks and state fish and game laws to be deposited in the state’s general fund. Currently, a majority of these monies goes toward the FWP funding.
Sportsmen should also be aware that additional bills proposing to divert wildlife funding in the state are either currently awaiting introduction or being drafted. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance will inform sportsmen about those bills as they are introduced.
“While sportsmen understand that many states are struggling to balance their budgets, diverting hunting and fishing license dollars away from wildlife funding is not the solution,” said Rine.
Take Action! Montana sportsmen should contact their state senators and urge them to oppose SB 83 and SB 84. To find your state senator’s phone number and other contact information, use the USSA Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org/lac.