Kansas Wildlife Federation

Monday, February 28 2005

Poaching bill passes House, 122-0

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:20pm

HB 2253, which would set in place progressively increasing minimum penalties for repeat violators of our state’s wildlife laws, has gotten out of the Kansas House of Representatives by a vote of 122-0.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it doesn’t yet have a committee assignment in the Senate. More than one bill has passed the House by a huge margin and then has died in the Senate - and vice versa.

To make sure we don’t lose momentum, call your state Senator today and ask for his or her help in moving HB 2253 through the Senate. For more information, call us here at 785-232-3238, or email info@kswildlife.org.

Monday, February 21 2005

Lobby Day is tomorrow

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:06pm

Our Lobby Day for the Kansas outdoors is tomorrow - and has gotten a nice write-up from Brent Frazee at the Kansas City Star.

A few things for tomorrow:

1) Don’t worry about coming for a long period of time. The important thing is to come by and talk to your legislators. We’ll have some hand-outs and talking points prepared for you, but feel free to come with your own viewpoints and ideas.

2) The Capitol is a lot of fun to visit. Make sure to take a look at the House and Senate chambers from the galleries, but also make sure to look for the famous Kansas murals along the second floor.

3) If you’re coming from a ways away, it’s worth it today to call your legislator and get an appointment. Generally you’ll get a ten minute slot.

4) If you don’t know who your legislator is, go to University of Kansas’ map of elected officials. Click the boxes for KS House districts and KS Senate districts, and then go to the top and select your city.

Or you can call us at 785-232-3238 and we’ll do all the work for you over the phone with you in about a minute.

Friday, February 18 2005

Two items of note from Michael Pearce

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:29pm

Michael Pearce, whose outdoor column for the Wichita Eagle should be one of your regular stops on the web, has two items in his most recent column.

The first is that the KDWP’s FISH Atlas is just about ready, and if you do any angling in the state, you should call and get one. Details are inside the story, but the upshot is that this is a public access program for anglers, similar in nature to the successful Walk-In Hunting Areas program.

The second is that the Senate passed the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, and this is good news. Contact your state representative and ask that the compact get a vote in the House soon.

Wednesday, February 16 2005

Poaching bill is out of committee

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:47pm

Today, the House Wildlife, Tourism & Parks Committee unanimously passed our anti-poaching bill out of committee with a recommendation to the House for passage. The bill, HB 2253, is a measure that would stiffen penalties for repeat violators of Kansas wildlife laws.

That’s good news, but it’s just the start. Our bill is “below the line,” which means that it will only get heard if the House gets passed a certain number of other bills ahead in the traffic.

To generate some enthusiasm for this bill, please call your state Representative and let him or her know you want to see HB 2253 come up for a vote. If you don’t know who your state Representative is, call us at 785-232-3238, and we’ll be able to tell you in less than a minute.

Another way to get some steam behind the bill is to come out to the Capitol building on Tuesday, February 22. That’s when we’ll be having the Sportsmen’s Lobby Day. Anyone who’s gone hunting or fishing in Kansas is encouraged to come to Topeka, where we’ll be on the second floor rotunda. Your perspective of the management decisions made by state government officials is important. This is your opportunity to speak up for the outdoors.

Coffee and doughnuts will be provided, and this is an easy and fun way to get involved in our state’s future. Come for an hour, or come for the whole day - what’s important is that there’s a voice for the outdoors.

The Sportsman’s Lobby Day is a joint effort between the Kansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon of Kansas, the Kansas Bowhunters Association, the Kansas chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Kansas State Rifle Association, and the Kansas Outfitters Association.

For more information, call us at the Topeka office at 785-232-3238, or send an email to info@kswildlife.org.

Wednesday, February 9 2005

Defending hunting

Filed under: — Dan @ 02:55pm

One of the great things about the Kansas hunting scene is that there’s no real “anti” movement here; we don’t have to worry about PETA or the Humane Society coming into the Legislature and blowing our traditions out.

But as James Swan points out in this column on ESPN Outdoors, that’s not enough all by itself. Just as one example, the Humane Society is on a national campaign to stop archery hunting, and with $95 million to spend, they’ve got the resources to have an impact in more than one state. And I don’t think anyone believes for a second they’ll stop with getting rid of bowhunters.

Nationwide, about 6 percent of the population goes hunting, and yet that small minority funds a great deal of our nation’s habitat and restoration. We need to be a lot better at explaining to the rest of the country about the benefits we bring to America’s outdoors.

Mr. Swan gives some great examples of worthwhile projects that will help us communicate to non-sportsmen about the positive impact we have on the American outdoors. While you’re looking at supporting those, you might also take a moment and check to see if your KWF membership is up to date.

Tuesday, February 8 2005

Wetlands and property

Filed under: — Dan @ 04:13pm

One of the issues that comes up when dealing with wetlands is the question of landowner rights. Environmental laws that protect wetlands are often labeled as being intrusions into the rights of the property holder.

On the other hand, laws that protect downstream property rights for surface waters are established and more or less unquestioned. No one really argues that landowners should have the right to build dams where ever they want with no regulation, or that surface water diversion rights should be unregulated.

Laws that protect wetlands perform the exact same function - they protect the quantity and quality of water available for the downstream user.

Here’s one excellent example of the value that wetlands provide: the erosion of coastal wetlands in Louisiana. As it turns out, this isn’t just a crisis for the state’s wildlife and for the Gulf of Mexico - it also turns out that the loss of coastal barrier wetlands is endangering the state’s oil and gas industry. Flood control is one of the more important economic functions of wetlands areas.

To the Pacific Legal Foundation, that’s not a good enough reason to have a law. The PLF is going to attempt to get a Supreme Court ruling to get a Michigan man off the hook for his chronic violations of the Clean Water Act. This is the Foundation’s second attempt; the Court refused to intervene last year. Hopefully, they’ll do so again this year, as their SWANCC decision has already created enough problems as it is.

Friday, February 4 2005

Conservation groups have our own poaching bill

Filed under: — Dan @ 12:09pm

While the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks has their own anti-poaching bill, Kansas sportsmen are also pushing a complementary effort.

This is a team of conservation organizations put together by KWF which includes our state’s wildlife officers, Audubon of Kansas, Kansas Bowhunters Association, Kansas National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Outfitters Association, and the Kansas State Rifle Association.

After considerable discussion among ourselves, we put together a bill which would do the following:

  • 1) Reform how diversions are used for wildlife crimes, so that violators would get out of a revolving door of continual violation.
  • 2) Institute minimum penalties for repeat violators, so that penalties increase as the number of convictions increase.
  • 3) Equalize minimum fines for in-state and out-of-state residents on many violations, so that resident violators don’t get a hands-off treatment.
  • To track our bill, or to see its wording, head over to the Kansas Legislature’s bill tracking page. To find out how you can support the bill, call the Topeka office at 785-232-3238 or email us at info@kswildlife.org.

    Thursday, February 3 2005

    Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact is in the Senate

    Today, the Kansas Wildlife Federation presented testimony in favor of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. This is a bill that would make it possible for Kansas to deny hunting licenses to out of state hunters who are violators in their own states. It also would make it easier for Kansas to enforce hunting laws for non-residents, because essentially, a violation in one state becomes a violation in all of the member states to the compact.

    This is a good bill that will help our state’s conservation officers do their jobs more efficiently and protect our state’s resources.

    Click here to read the text of the bill. Please note that this is a large Acrobat Reader document.

    To read the testimony of KWF in favor of this bill, click on “more”. To find out how you can help this bill go forward, call the KWF office at 785-232-3238 or email to info@kswildlife.org

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