We will try to list Pending Bills that are related to hunting, fishing, and conservation issues. They will be listed by their assigned number followed by their title or description. If the number and description is underlined, it means that it is linked to the bill and by clicking on this it will take you to a site that will show you the complete bill.
Please try to take the time to review these and also take the time to contact your elected representative to voice your concern or support for the bill.
Bills that have already been approved that are related to hunting, fishing, and conservation will also be listed under Recently Approved Bills.
Much of this information is being provided by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and we thank them for their work in keeping sports men and women informed.
The Assembly passed this bill on a straight party line vote and it is now up to the Senate to approve or deny this legislation. The mining bill may sound good by providing jobs, but the environmental protections have been reduced or eliminated, and other provisions changed that threatens Wisconsin's lakes, streams, wetlands, and eliminated the public's right to have a contested case hearing on a mining permit.
Main Points of Contention:
1. Shortens DNR approval time to 360 days and it not approved within that time frame the mining permit will be automatically approved. The mining company is required to provide environmental impact information to the DNR, but the bill states that the DNR does not have to use any of this information in deciding to approve or deny the bill.
2. The bill weakens environmental standards for lakes, streams, and wetlands that could cause substantial damage to fishing and wildlife habitat. The bill authorizes the DNR to issue the permit to the mining company it it determines that the economic benefit is more important than the lakes, streams or wetlands. This bill stands to violate the Public Trust Doctrine of Wisconsin.
3. The bill also takes away substantial funding from the local unites of government and gives it to the state.
4. The bill takes away the legal right of citizens to question or verify the scientific analysis of the mining company in order to determine whether the mining project meets standards for granting the mining permit. It also prevents the public from testifying on whether the permit should be granted and removes the current authority for citizens to file a lawsuit if the mining permit is not enforced.
5. The bill also violates and takes away the ceded treaty rights of Native American Tribes. The rights of the tribes are being enforced for spearing, but taken away for their rights to protect their hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering wild rice rights because of potential environmental damage.
Act 21- Changes in Administrative Rules: Act 21, passed by the Legislature this year is having a tremendous impact on the Conservation Congress and the adoption of hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations in Wisconsin. 2012 will be the first year that sports men and women will not be able to vote on regulation changes affecting hunting, fishing and trapping. The new law means that even the most simple rule change will take an extra year or two to adopt because of the need for Economic Impact Studies that are now required. The new law means that even a minor bag limit change has to go through enormous bureaucratic challenges including being approved by the Governor three times, approved by the Natural Resources Board three times, and voted on by three committees of the Legislature.
AB 24- Changes in Bear Hunting Regulations: Companion Bil, SB72 signed into law, Act 28 The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation stood opposed to this legislation based on concerns with conflicts caused with other hunters and landowners and contrary to overwhelming Conservation Congress Vote.
AB 35 - Culling of Bass During Bass Tournaments: Signed into law by Governor as Act 24, this Bill was opposed by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation because it creates double standard of regulations between tournament and non-tournament anglers on the same body of water. This bill only affect the culling of bass and gives only tournament bass fishermen the right to cull bass. It would be illegal for anyone else.
AB 48 - Written Directory of Lands: This was passed by the Assembly and the Senate and signed into law as Act 95. It requires the DNR to produce a written directory of lands purchased with Stewardship Funds open to hunting, fishing and trapping. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation supported this bill as it provides useful information to sports men and women regarding public access.
AB 99 - Herd Control and Earn a Buck: Companion Bill SB75 passed both houses and signed into law as Act 50. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation was in favor of not using herd control or earn-a-buck in 2011, but stood opposed as this permanently takes away these as deer management tools. Most hunters agree that herd control and earn-a-buck was overused, but it may be needed at some future time as a method to control deer herds if hunting is unable to control them.