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House Budget Alert!!!

 

GOAL Succeeds in Protecting Fish and Wildlife Funding 

April 30, 2010  

During the last week of April 2010 the Massachusetts House of Representatives debated the fiscal year 2011 state budget. Prior to the debates taking place, the House members were required to submit any proposed amendments to the budget. When these amendments were posted for the general public Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) alerted our members to several threats to professional wildlife management here in the Commonwealth. We are pleased to say that the calls from our members and the hard work of friendly legislators were successful!

Two amendments were filed to the FY2011 House budget that would have diverted millions of dollars from the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund.  The proposed amendments, #149 and #152 filed by Representative James Murphy of the 4th Norfolk District were ultimately defeated!

The other problem facing wildlife management was cuts in the proposed budgets. The main operational line item for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) and the line item for the Wildland Acquisition Account (Land Stamp) were both cut by $500,000 in the proposed House budget. It is important to remember that these accounts are paid for by sportsmen and women. While the money is already in the protected accounts, the legislature must appropriate it in order for the DFW to utilize it.

Representative William Straus (D) of Mattapoisett and co-sponsor Representative George Peterson (R) of Grafton filed two amendments to restore the funding. In a true bipartisan effort the two legislators worked tirelessly on behalf of our members to successfully get these amendments passed during the environmental portion of the budget session. What made their efforts on these two amendments even more astounding was that they were able to get them passed when hundreds of other amendments during that portion of the budget process were unsuccessful.

“This was a great example of how fast our members and supportive legislators can respond to a crisis,” said Jim Wallace Executive Director of GOAL. “It is unfortunate that we have to go through such an ordeal to protect the dedicated funding resources for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. However, it is another shining example of the dedication our members have to professional wildlife management and land conservation.” 

GOAL would like to thank Rep. William Straus, Rep. George Peterson and the other legislators that stepped forward to protect the integrity of the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund and professional wildlife management. We would also like to thank our members for responding so quickly to our alerts and contacting their legislators.

Please go to http://goalhunters.org/aprilbudgetalert.html to get more history on this successful effort.

 

April 29, 2010 Update! Great News!

 

Congratulations all! Once again our voice was heard, Representatives Straus and Peterson were successful in passing their amendments #27 (to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife line # 2310-0200) and #28 (to the Wildland acquisition line 2310-0316) to the House FY2011 Budget (H.4599) which killed the proposed amendments, #149 and #152 filed by Representative James Murphy of the 4th Norfolk District.

This is a win for all lawful gun owners, hunters, and outdoorsmen!


The final vote is yet to come and we will continue to monitor the budget proceedings to ensure that no last minute changes are made, we ask all of our members to do the same.

Please take the time to drop Rep Peterson and Rep Strauss a note of thanks, these are the good guys on our side!

 

Representative George Peterson contact info.
Representative William M. Straus contact info.

 

April 28, 2010 Update!

 

Representative William M. Straus and Representative George N. Peterson, Jr. have filed amendments #27 (to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife line # 2310-0200) and #28 (to the Wildland acquisition line 2310-0316) to the House FY2011 Budget (H.4599) regarding The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Land Stamp funding.  These amendments would restore the current funding and prevent the half-million dollar proposed cut.

 

As a reminder, both of these programs are funded by license fees generated by hunting, fishing and trapping!

 

GOAL is urging all of our members to contact their State Representative (Senators will not have any input on this bill until later in the process.) and ask them to support House Budget (H.4599) Amendment numbers 27 and 28. (see links below)

 

 

4/26/10 Update, Thanks to all of our members who have called about this.

Just wanted to let you all know that Representative James Murphy's office is giving out some bad information.

They are stating "we are working with GOAL to reach a compromise"

This is NOT TRUE. We have not been contacted by Representative Murphy in regards to this issue.

Just to be clear, GOAL is not working on a compromise, GOAL is working to eliminate these amendments.

Please continue to call in regards to this issue.

April 21, 2010

Inland Fisheries and Game Fund and Wildland Stamp Account under Attack!!

As the Massachusetts House of Representatives prepares to debate the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget (H.4599) Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) has been made aware of proposed amendments to the budget that would once again raid our wildlife management and land acquisition funds. The proposed amendments, #149 and #152 filed by Representative James Murphy of the 4th Norfolk District proposes the following:

  • Establish a “Wildlife Rehabilitation Account” within the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund.
  • Divert all proceeds from the sale of the $5.00 Wildland Conservation Stamps to the new account. (This alone totals approximately 1.5 million dollars a year.)
  • Divert one dollar from the sale of every sporting, fishing, trapping and hunting license and deposit it into the new account.
  • Divert contributions and any grant monies from the federal government or other public and private sources and deposit it into the new account. (It is unclear from the language, but this may include all of the federal Pittman-Robertson approximately $4,000,000 a year. See more information about this funding below.)
  • Mandate that the Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) distribute the funds in the wildlife rehabilitation account equally to all nonprofit organizations licensed by the DFW that provides wildlife medical treatment, caring, rehabilitation, and releasing of nongame wildlife and endangered species in the commonwealth. These groups include the HSUS and the MSPCA, two organizations that have worked to destroy professional wildlife management nationally and locally.
  • A full listing of licensed rehabilitators can be found at: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/rehab/wildlife_rehab_index.htm
  • Amend the laws regarding the use of the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund to include themedical treatment, caring, rehabilitation, and releasing of nongame wildlife and endangered species.

 

All sportsmen/women, gun owners, conservationists, etc. should take this threat to professional wildlife management and land conservation very seriously. We all must remember that less than a decade ago, in 2003, we all had to join forces to fight back against an all out assault on the entire Inland Fisheries and Game Fund.

 

While the treatment and rehabilitation of these animals may well be a worthwhile endeavor, it is not the appropriate use of these funds. For nearly a century sportsmen/women and gun owners have led the way in wildlife management and land conservation. In doing so we willingly funded the majority of these efforts when all others have refused to do so. Now others are trying to take what we have worked so hard to establish.

 

GOAL is urging all of our members to contact their State Representative (Senators will not have any input on this bill until later in the process.) and ask them to oppose House Budget (H.4599) Amendment numbers 149 and 152. Please do not take this threat lightly, call now! Debate on this bill is scheduled to begin the week of April 26th.

 

To find your legislators: http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php

House Budget Site: http://www.mass.gov/legis/11budget/house/

For a history of DFW and acquisitions: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/habitat/land/land_acquisitions.htm

Wildland Acquisition Account law: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/131-2a.htm

 

Budget Amendment Language 

House Budget Amendment #149  

The bill be amended in Section 2 in line item 2310-0200, line 4, by inserting after the word management,:- and the medical treatment, caring, rehabilitation, and releasing of nongame wildlife and endangered species in the commonwealth.  

House Budget Amendment #152 

Representative James M. Murphy moved that the bill be amended after Section 45 by inserting the following sections:  

Section 1. Chapter 131 section 2A of the Massachusetts General Laws as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting the following sections.  

Section 2B. Wildlife Rehabilitation Account. Section 2B. There is hereby established within the Inland Fisheries and Game Fund, a wildlife rehabilitation account which shall be credited monies received from the sale of wildland conservation stamps, the portion of the fees for sporting, fishing, trapping and hunting licenses to be credited under the provisions of section 2C, contributions thereto and any grant monies from the federal government or other public and private sources. Said account, subject to appropriation, shall be used only for the purposes pursuant to chapter 131 section 2C subsection (12) as amended.  

Section 2B subsection (1). The director shall distribute the funds in the wildlife rehabilitation account equally to all nonprofits organization licensed by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife that provides wildlife medical treatment, caring, rehabilitation, and releasing of nongame wildlife and endangered species in the commonwealth. Section 2. Chapter 131 section 2C of the Massachusetts General Laws as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting the following words after 2A. And $1 from the sale of each sporting, fishing, trapping and hunting license shall be credited to the wildlife rehabilitation account.  

Section 3. Chapter 131 section 2C subsection (12) of the Massachusetts General Laws as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting the following words after “perpetuation” medical treatment, caring, rehabilitation, and releasing.  

National Wildlife Managment Fact Points:

  • The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) was approved by Congress on September 2, 1937, and begin functioning July 1, 1938.
  • The purpose of this Act was to provide funding for the selection, restoration, rehabilitation and improvement of wildlife habitat, wildlife management research, and the distribution of information produced by the projects.
  • The Act was amended October 23, 1970, to include funding for hunter training programs and the development, operation and maintenance of public target ranges.
  • Funds are derived from an 11 percent Federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment, and a 10 percent tax on handguns.
  • Funds for hunter education and target ranges are derived from one-half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment.
  • Funds for hunter education and target ranges are derived from one-half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment.
  • The program is a cost-reimbursement program, where the state covers the full amount of an approved project then applies for reimbursement through Federal Aid for up to 75 percent of the project expenses. The state must provide at least 25 percent of the project costs from a non-federal source.

*This page is made possible by the membership of GOAL and their generous donations. If you found this page helpful please Join - Support - Donate to GOAL.

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