Week in Preview May 2, 2011

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The hunt is on for turkeys, both in the field and at the State House. I plan to focus plenty of attention to the field, when the DIF&W’s turkey season kicks off Monday morning 30 minutes before sunrise.

At the State House, hundreds of bills are scheduled for work sessions this week, and legislators will be trying to quickly weed out the turkeys so they can get to the bills that warrant further consideration. I’ll be covering this process too, although it may not be as interesting as the mornings’ turkey hunts around Mount Vernon.

Deer Plan Gets Legislative Attention

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The following elements are under consideration by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee as additions to DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. The responses of DIF&W’s Sandy Ritchie are printed in italics.


A subcommittee of IFW Committee members, led by Senator David Trahan, is working on language to insert in Senator Kevin Raye’s deer resolve and will bring their suggestions back to the full committee soon. That language may include some of the following elements, plus additional elements created by the committee.


DIF&W Constitutional Amendment Gets Hearing

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The legislature's Taxation Committee held a hearing yesterday on Senator David Trahan's proposed Constitutional amendment to direct a small percentage of sales tax revenue to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

You can read my report on the hearing in my Downeast.com blog.

PHOTO: Senator David Trahan.

Woodcock Tackles Ambitious Agenda

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DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock’s first 60 days set the stage for major changes in the second two months of his tenure. Between now and the end of June, expect significant announcements from the moose hunt to the fisheries division.

Chandler sat for an interview with me on April 26 to talk about some of the major initiatives that are in process. It’s an impressive list.

Maine Game Plan for Deer

Barely a week into the job, Chandler stood with his boss, Governor Paul LePage, and Senate President Kevin Raye, in the governor’s cabinet room, to announce DIF&W’s Maine Game Plan for Deer. The plan has encouraged and excited sportsmen throughout the state.

Although the plan was created by DIF&W’s staff before his arrival, Chandler beefed it up significantly. Even so, the plan lacks the staff, money, and other resources needed to rebuild the state’s deer herd.

ATV bills still on the legislative trail

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The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee hosted public hearings on April 25 on two bills that would create a mitigation fund private landowners could access to repair damage caused by ATV riders. The committee also reconsidered an earlier vote on a bill that would allow game wardens to stop ATV riders without suspecting that they were violating a law.

Week in Preview April 25, 2011

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The legislature shifts into overdrive this week, with public hearings on 275 bills and work sessions on many more. It’s an absurd schedule, and if you intend to testify, be prepared to limit your remarks to 3 minutes. That’s all you’ll get from most committees.

The House and Senate are now meeting three days a week and many bills of interest are making their way through the two bodies. I’ll begin writing about these later in the week.

The most important bill of the session for sportsmen will be heard on Thursday, April 28. It's LD 563, sponsored by Senator Dave Trahan. This is a Constitutional amendment that would provide a portion of the sales tax to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Legislature Takes a Vacation

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Monday, April 18, is Patriot’s Day. Tuesday’s a state shutdown day. And the schools and legislature are on vacation the entire week. So let’s take the week off too! Check here on Monday, April 25, for further instructions. - george

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