News from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission
Contact members of the Arizona House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee to express your opposition to House Bill 2235.
Arizona – -(AmmoLand.com)- This Bill would alter Commission qualifications, appointment process—unnecessarily changing a system that has served Arizonans well for 80 years.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission urges constituents to contact the members of the Arizona House of Representatives’ Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee and let them know that you oppose House Bill 2235. HB 2235 is proposed legislation that would amend an existing law concerning the qualifications and appointment process for Game and Fish Commission membership. The Commission voted unanimously at its public telephonic meeting on Jan. 23 to oppose this bill and voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to oppose proposed language that might amendment the bill.
Some of the provisions of the bill, if it were to pass as originally written, are that all future Commission members would be required to have a continuous recorded registration with the same political party or as an independent for at least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment, must have also held a valid hunting or combination hunting and fishing license for at least 5 years immediately preceding the appointment, and must have been an Arizona resident for at least 10 years. (It should be noted that this bill sets a more restrictive residency standard than exists for Legislators or for most other elected officials in Arizona, including Governor). The original draft legislation would also require that all applications for appointment to the Commission be available for public inspection not later than the second week in December.
The Commission’s reasons for opposing the bill were articulated in an e-mail communication sent out to constituents on Jan. 26. They included:
As originally written, the bill would prevent an individual from being an eligible applicant who had been a long time-purchaser of a hunting license but, for any reason, missed purchasing a license during the five years prior to becoming a candidate. This would prevent anyone serving as a Commissioner who was unable to purchase a license due to economic or health reasons, family circumstances, or being out of state for a period of time, such as a member of the U.S. military who might be deployed overseas. The draft legislation would prevent the Governor from making an appointment except from candidates that submitted applications prior to the second week in December. If the Governor didn’t call for applications until after the second week in December, or if a current Commissioner was unable to continue serving their term and resigned, the Governor would be unable to appoint a new Commissioner until the following December. No specific skills, knowledge or qualifications are required of an individual who has purchased a hunting or combination hunting and fishing license that aren’t already required by the existing statute. The current law states that Commission members be “well informed on the subjects of wildlife and requirements for its conservation”.
Although the Commission is aware that some amendments may be proposed to this bill, the Commission hasn’t seen anything that would warrant changing a system that has worked well for the interests of Arizona’s wildlife and its citizens for 80 years. The Commission understands the critical role sportsmen play in funding wildlife conservation. It also believes that Arizona’s wildlife belongs to all its citizens, each of whom has a responsibility to help fund conservation. This bill would be overly restrictive in who could be eligible to serve as a Commissioner (the standard would be more restrictive than currently exists for most public offices in Arizona), and would unnecessarily change a long-standing system.
To view the original language and proposed amendments to HB 2235, visit www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/legislative_affairs.shtml.
Your action is needed today!
House Bill 2235 is scheduled to be heard before the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, March 11. Please e-mail the members of this committee (see list below) and tell them that you oppose this legislation because there is no reason to change a system that has served the interests of Arizona’s wildlife and citizens well for 80 years. The committee members need to hear your voice on this issue. Please contact them today.
Members of the House Natural Resources & Rural Affairs Committee:
- Jerry Weiers (Chair), [email protected]
- David Gowan (Vice Chair), [email protected]
- Ray Barnes, [email protected]
- Sam Crump, [email protected]
- Patricia V. Fleming, [email protected]
- Barbara McGuire, [email protected]
- Daniel Patterson, [email protected]
- Carol Seel, [email protected]
HB 2235 was scheduled to be heard in the House Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee on Feb. 23, but that committee meeting was postponed and has not been rescheduled.
For more information about HB 2235, “Game and Fish Commissioners; Appointment,” contact Tony Guiles of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at [email protected]
The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 2221 W. Greenway Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85023, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.