Home Vermont Vt. bill would strip power from Fish and Wildlife Board

Vt. bill would strip power from Fish and Wildlife Board

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – A bill proposed at the Statehouse looks to shake up the authority of the Fish & Wildlife Board.

S. 258 proposes to amend the powers of the Fish and Wildlife Board so that it serves in an advisory capacity and gives the rule-making authority to the commissioner. The board would be appointed by the Legislature instead of the governor and would increase the number of members from 14 to 15.

It would consist of people who hunt, fish, and trap, but also could include members who don’t engage in those activities. Under the bill, department staff would have the board consider whether a proposed rule is designed to maintain the best health, population, and viewing opportunities for wildlife.

Brenna Galdenzi with the group Protect our Wildlife says it’s time to have new voices heard in the regulation of wildlife. “The Fish and Wildlife Board has been operating for decades making policy on our shared wildlife without diverse voices at the table and this legislation seeks to change that,” she said.

Other groups, including the Vermont Traditions Coalition, say they are fundamentally opposed to the effort. “All I can do is talk about what the optics are to my community. The bill appears to be a bid to put folks on the board who have already established they want to end these practices,” said the group’s Mike Covey.

The bill also would ban the hunting of coyotes with dogs.

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