Over the next several weeks we’ll be providing a short one hour, lunchtime, telephone briefings on our priority legislation. The first will take place Wednesday March 1st from noon to 1pm. Michael Dax of Defenders of Wildlife and Mary Katherine Ray of the Sierra Club will review the following four bills. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate.
- HB 254 – Game Commission Legislative Appointments
Over the past couple years, many New Mexicans have felt increasingly unrepresented by the state game commission. HB 254, sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen would reform the way appointments are made to the commission. It would split appointments between the Governor and Legislative Council, ensure a scientific voice on the commission, and provide non-consumptive wildlife users representation. To fully reform wildlife management in New Mexico will be a multiple step process, and the presentation will explain how HB 254 fits into the larger picture.
- SB 81 – Wildlife Tracking
El Paso, Texas is the largest point of entry for illegal wildlife traffickers. Between 2005 and 2014, Fish and Wildlife Service agents detected an illegal shipment nearly every day. Additionally, Nogles, AZ is another large trafficking point, yet FWS does not have any border agents posted at New Mexico’s ports of entry, making our state a large blank spot on the map. SB 81, the Wildlife Trafficking Act, sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart and Rep. Gail Chasey, would complement existing federal law by empowering New Mexico law enforcement to crack down on these criminals.
- SB 286 – prohibit traps and poisons from our public lands
Traps, including steel jawed leg-hold traps and wire snares can currently be placed on public lands where we all recreate. These devices are mindless, they ensnare not only wildlife like bobcats, foxes, and badgers which are sought by trappers to sell for their pelts, but also our canine companions including search and rescue dogs, herding dogs, livestock protection dogs and hunting dogs. Any animal whose feet touch the ground is vulnerable; porcupines, javelina, quail and even raptors like hawks and owls have been inadvertently trapped. These traps can also inflict injuries that are brutal and horrific. SB 286 would prohibit traps like these as well as the use of poisons on public land. You can read the text of SB 286 here where you’ll see there are many exceptions to this prohibition including to protect human health and safety, for scientific research, and the protection of threatened and endangered species. The bill offers a balanced approach to protect wildlife from exploitation and insure public safety on the wild public lands we love.
- SB 268 – prohibit coyote killing contests
Coyote killing contests are occurring with increasing frequency. In winter there is a contest nearly every weekend somewhere in our state. These events award cash and prizes for killing as many coyotes as possible in a given time period. Prizes can also be awarded for killing the largest and smallest coyote- meaning young pups are the targets of participants too. These events kill coyotes en masse and at random on wild lands where they are causing no conflict. They do not serve any wildlife management purpose but instead foster violence for monetary gain. Coyotes play a very important role in nature in consuming rabbits, rats and mice and are crucial to keeping these species in balance. You can read the text of SB 268 here.