Recently, I read an opinion piece in the Casper Star Tribune entitled: Game and Fish has deteriorated over the years. Here is the link, in case you missed it.
As you are aware, Governor Mead assembled a Fish & Wildlife Task Force comprised predominantly of well established lobbyists. From Governor Mead’s News Release (Click here to read Governor Mead’s Press Release), dated April 13, 2015, we learned that “the goal of the task force is to recommend strategies to maximize the benefits of the state’s fish and wildlife resources. Recommendations will include funding, education, vocation and outdoor recreation opportunities, as well as different ways to support the resources.”
We were told in the same “News Release” that “This Task Force will work to engage everyone who enjoys our wildlife – not just hunters and anglers. Representatives from tourism, agriculture, the general public and industry – a stellar group of people – will bring a variety of backgrounds to the discussions,” said Governor Mead.
From the very first Task Force meeting until the last, they primarily focused on one concept alone; that of securing an additional $3 million from general fund appropriations to cover 100% of the non-game program costs. Since the G&F could NOT provide the Task Force with a finite number, Task Force Member Diane Shober – Wyoming Office of Tourism, Executive Director, told the Task Force the goal should be raising the G&F budget by $20 million.
If they are successful in obtaining the additional $3 million for non-game programs, they will be looking for another $17 million from somewhere else. Given the fact that the only other recommendation from the Task Force is to have the legislative body abrogate their legislative authority to the 7 member Game & Fish Commission, we can assume that the remaining $17 million dollars will be sought through increased license fees.
The Joint TRW Interim Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 9th and Tuesday, November 10th and will be held at Casper College. To view the agenda click here.
I would encourage everyone to attend this meeting to ensure that your voice is heard. Monday will be the primary day for discussion of specific Game and Fish issues on the agenda. Tuesday, people will be able to talk about issues which are not in the agenda.