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HB 514: Making Fish and Game Commission Political — 2020

Summary: HB 514 would allow for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission to be dominated by members of a single political party.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: Held in Committee

Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife

Official Legislative Site

Rep. Paul Shepherd (R-Riggins) introduced House Bill 514, which would remove the requirement for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) Commission to be politically balanced.

When 76% of voters agreed in 1938 to establish the professional management of wildlife via IDFG, it was overwhelmingly approved because Idahoans saw the negative effects of political influence over fish and game management. Ever since, the IDFG commission has allowed a maximum of 4 (out of 7) commissioners from the same political party.

It was the right decision in 1938 to keep politics out of wildlife management and it’s the right decision today. We already see too much political meddling when it comes to fish and game budgets; management of game farms; and alterations to hunting seasons, bag limits and access. Opening the commission to increased political influence threatens the integrity of the commission and undermines the intent of creating an independent and balanced commission to protect and preserve the fish and wildlife that belong to all Idahoans.