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Print

Bills seek to help Wyoming Game and Fish funding

October 22, 2013 at 04:01 PM

The Associated Press


CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A legislative committee is considering bills that would attempt to provide additional sources of revenue for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department after the Legislature last winter decided not to raise hunting and fishing license fees.

Game and Fish cut spending after the legislative session by allowing some open positions in the agency to go unfilled and by scaling back habitat, public access and fish stocking programs.

One bill now before the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee proposes raising the price of hunting and fishing licenses by 10 percent. The other asks the Wyoming Legislature to pay for elk feed grounds, grizzly bear management, and Game and Fish employee health insurance out of the state general fund.

Dozens of people told the committee at a meeting in August that they supported efforts to help Game and Fish. The committee planned to discuss the measures again Tuesday.

"They are alternative funding sources for Game and Fish and are alternatives I want to put in front of the TRW committee," said committee Co-chairman Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan.

Game and Fish has been on a fixed budget since 2008, when license fees were last raised, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/GYRvzG ).

Other state agencies faced with higher health insurance costs ask the Legislature for more money, Burns said, but Game and Fish takes the increase out of its budget. The Game and Fish budget comes mostly from license fees and federal taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

"There are a number of individuals and groups that are quite concerned about the impending loss of programs by Game and Fish," Burns said.

___

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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