The 2019 Legislature was a busy one for issues affecting wildlife, habitat and access for sportsmen and sportswomen, as well as recreationists. As we have in years past, NDWF played a crucial role at the Capitol, monitoring key issues and speaking up for habitat, wildlife, access, and our outdoor heritage.
NDWF worked closely with lawmakers of both parties to ensure that Game & Fish’s budget was sound and that key conservation priorities got the staffing and funding needed to manage our public trust resources. We fought against any effort from legislators that tried to micromanage the Department of Fish & Game or impeded scientific wildlife management.
The “No Trespass Bill” (SB2315) was a primary focus for NDWF this session. We attended every hearing and meeting, testified, and lobbied. NDWF and its membership, along with other sportsmen’s groups - through countless hours of work, calls, and emails - defeated the bill. NDWF will continue to be engaged on this issue during the interim and will work to build collaboration across the diversity of groups that represent North Dakota hunters and anglers. Sportsmen and conservation groups need to unite in order for us to defend ND’s access and outdoor heritage in 2021 and beyond.
Other important victories this session included passing a funding bill for an Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Program, killing of a number of bad hunting and fishing licensing bills, and increasing the Outdoor Heritage Fund to $15 million for the biennium. In order to help defend the Outdoor Heritage Fund - which uses taxes on oil and gas to enhance conservation practices in the state - NDWF worked to build partnerships and coalitions with other organizations to ensure strong support for the program.
Our successes this session will hopefully be a building block to keep the sportsmen’s coalition going so the sporting community can continue to speak with one voice on key conservation issues. That unity will give us more strength to pass key measures and building a better future for conservation, hunting and angling.
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