Monday, January 8, 2018

Wolf poaching bill threatens outdoors' funding. Sane law enforcement, too.

Over the weekend I wrote about a wolf-killing free-for-all bill which gets a public hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. in 412 East State Capitol.

The only killing associated with the bill should be the bill itself.

This horrible representation of what has happened to the legislative process in the blatantly-gerrymandered, anti-government, GOP-dominated Legislature would ban - - basically on an uninformed whim - - decades of established, commonsense, scientific, law enforcement, financial and wildlife managerial goals, actions and programs implemented cooperatively and through long, hard work by state, tribal and federal scientists and officials with the help of volunteers statewide.

Wisconsin is killing its wolves 
This is the twisted states-rights Wisconsin Idea which GOP legislators would be promoting to citizens statewide, from taxpayers to police officers to local officials to school children if this bill becomes law:
Choose the laws you want to follow
Why not post the message on those Welcome to Wisconsin billboards?
You can poach wildlife here, however you want
The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau in its analysis of the bill shows how the bill would withdraw Wisconsin from enforcing federal law and a federal judge's 2014 order banning wolf-hunting:
This bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law that relates to the management of the wolf population in this state or that prohibits the killing of wolves in Wisconsin. 
The bill prohibits the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from expending any funds for the purpose of managing the wolf population in this state other than for the purpose of making payments under the endangered resources program to persons who apply for reimbursement for certain damage caused by wolves or protecting private property, including domestic cattle from wolf depredation. 
The bill prohibits DNR from taking any action to inform or support federal law enforcement officers regarding the enforcement of any federal or state law relating to wolves. 
A citizens' group, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is urging attendance at the Wednesday hearing.
Contact your Wisconsin state representatives CLICK HERE
The GOP-led wolf-killing lobby would never propose such a consequential break with other federal rules, law enforcement obligations and funding eligibility which routinely pours make-or-break dollars into everyday life in Wisconsin for National Guard units, police departments, roads, highways, bridges, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, and surplus milk and cheese purchases from Wisconsin producers, to name but a few.

Why this exception?

And certainly those legislators would never do anything to jeopardize federal millions which keep wildlife and recreation programs afloat here, right?


Intended or not, the funding loss for hunting, angling and hiking programs in Wisconsin is huge consequence should this bill pass.

I strongly recommend the dispassionate, factual and scientific analysis of the bill by Wisconsin's Green Fire, a non-partisan, non-profit organization of natural resource and environmental experts and scientists which explains the multiple legal and financial problems which could result were the bill to become law.

In a nutshell:
Law enforcement strives for public confidence that they enforce all laws fairly and evenly. This legislation requires that they look the other way on wolf violations, effectively sanctioning illegal behavior and eroding public support for law enforcement. 
And here are the counter-productive financial implications for every Wisconsinite who hikes, fishes, or hunts deer and other species:
This legislation would jeopardize Wisconsin’s ability to receive federal Wildlife Restoration Grants commonly referred to as Pittman Robertson (PR) funds...Wisconsin’s eligibility for these funds is contingent on DNR having the legal authority to properly manage wildlife populations within the state. It is likely that the USFWS [United States Fish and Wildlife Service] would need to review WDNR’s ability to properly manage Wisconsin’s gray wolf population. A negative finding would result in Wisconsin’s loss of these important [Pittman Robertson] PR-funds.
Pittman-Robertson grants, Wisconsin’s share of the federal excise taxes on hunting equipment, are used to monitor wildlife populations, undertake research, and manage wildlife habitat for a wide range of species. In 2017, Wisconsin received over $19 million grant dollars which was nearly 14% of the total revenue to the state’s Fish & Wildlife Account. Loss of these grant funds would require DNR to lay off staff and eliminate wildlife management activities.
Prohibiting enforcement of laws relating to wolf management (such as illegal killing of wolves) by Wisconsin law enforcement officers will impact state, and in some instances, tribal conservation wardens, county sheriff deputies and local police officers. The following are some of these potential impacts...
  1. 1)  Officers take an oath of office to enforce the law; this proposal would put law enforcement officers in the position of selectively enforcing laws.

  2. 2)  The language in the bill prevents officers from "knowingly" enforcing or "attempting" to enforce the law. These terms are subjective and leave a gray area for interpretation by officers and the public. For instance, it would make investigations very difficult when an offense involved both wolves and other species.

  3. 3)  This inability to enforce laws will create complex violation scenarios in which DNR would be restricted from taking action. Such as:

    1. a)  Violators avoiding prosecution for hunting/trapping violations for other species by claiming to be in pursuit of wolves. 
    2. b)  Poison baits set to kill wolves that are also harming domestic pets, livestock or other species of wildlife. 
    3. c)  Use of trap and snare types that are not legal for use in Wisconsin. 
    4. d)  This legislation would also prohibit an officer from coming to the aid of a federal warden enforcing a wolf-related law. 
    5. e)  Law enforcement strives for public confidence that they enforce all laws fairly and evenly. This legislation requires that they look the other way on wolf violations, effectively sanctioning illegal behavior and eroding public support for law enforcement.


Anonymous said...

I strongly share the concerns. The wolf haters are nuts, but as you point out its much worse. For government officials to urge and even legislate the disobeying of established law is the height of foolishness.

It is legitimate to ask "Why should I obey ANY law?" Clearly between this, Foxconns free pass, and so on, we dont.

Anonymous said...

The real issue has little to do with the management of the wolf population. It has nothing to do with hunting rights. It has nothing to do with the rights of farmers.

What this is about is the morons in the Wis Legislature who are big babies doing what they want regardless of the consequences. These people are truly stupid and need to be removed from office. In reality, turning down 19,000,000 is nothing to everything else these fools have been doing. Remember when they were going to give away 100,000s to a fake sportsmens' club? Remember turning down millions for the train? How about turning down millions in medicare? Giving away millions to nonexistent companies? Giving away billions to Foxconn?

Our state leaders are stinking, crooked, lying, stupid, thieves. In spite of their incompetence, we still have fools like the guy on hwy 13 with the sign that says, "In Scott Walker we Trust". There are a large number of idiots who believe that Scott Walker is God. Then there is the guy on hwy 73 with the big sign that says "Scott Walker for Sportsmen" who has a well displayed confederate flag on a pole. So lets tell it the way it is. We have people who worship Walker as a God. We have others who support slavery who think Walker is helping them as sportsmen. My guess is that this dumb ass thinks hunting is shooting a caged deer.

I am a Christian and a sportsman. I am not a wolf hugger. I am completely disgusted with the stupid people in the state GOP and the fidiots who vote for them. Maybe it is time to join the exodus out of here.