28th Assembly District E-Update
Natural Resources Committee in Action
Reestablishing Wisconsin’s Wolf Management Plan
This week the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 502 (AB 502), which will restore our Wolf Management plan here in Wisconsin. This legislation is in response to the federal government’s delisting of wolves from their endangered species list.
The wolf population has seen rapid growth over the last several years and has far exceeded the goal of growing the nearly extinct population to about 350 animals. This bill will allow for Wisconsin to manage our wolf population, replacing the lack of management mandated by the federal government. AB 502 works within wolf management framework for the state to provide a hunting and trapping season as one avenue to manage the population.
AB 502 seeks to model the wolf hunting season after the state’s bear hunting season by limiting the number of hunting permits available. Despite some reports, this legislation will not create an open season on wolves. The bill will also allow for the issuance of depredation permits that will allow farmers and property owners to protect their pets and livestock. In 2010, over 30 incidents occurred with pets and hunting animals resulting in more than $200,000 in wolf depredation reimbursements. By managing the wolf population in Wisconsin, we can limit the number of incidents and protect citizens from the financial burden these predators are causing.
At the public hearing, the Department of Natural Resources pointed out some important changes to this legislation that need to occur through the Committee process. The authors of the bill have been working with the Department to ensure that we implement a responsible wolf management plan here in Wisconsin. I have put my name down as a co-sponsor of this bill because I know how much a wolf management plan is needed throughout the state but specifically here in Northwestern Wisconsin.
Crossbow Bill Unanimously Approved by Committee
This week the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources passed by unanimous support Assembly Bill 384 (AB 384) which will allow for the use of crossbows during deer, elk, wild turkey, bear, and small game hunting seasons in which use of a firearm is authorized. Under current law, hunting with a crossbow is only authorized when the user is above 65 years old or has a disability. This legislation repeals that provision, while still maintaining that a crossbow may not be used during a hunting season established only for the usage of a bow and arrow.
Having passed the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources by a 16-0 vote, AB 384 is now available to be scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor. Given the bi-partisan committee vote, including myself, I would expect this legislation to pass through the Assembly quickly and then proceed to the Senate.
Frederic High School Handbell Choir Performs at Capitol
Last week, the Capitol rotunda was filled with the sound of handbells as 12 students from Frederic High School performed over the lunch hour. I was honored not only to hear them perform but to get the chance to talk to some of our young adults from the local community. Thanks to the students and their director Pat Anderson for bringing some wonderful music to the Capitol.