FWP 'clean-up' bill draws debate

Legislation characterized by supporters as a “cleanup” bill for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to tweak language in several areas of law saw pushback from opponents this week who saw it as a “catch-all” bill compiled of provisions that deserve more scrutiny.

After passing the House earlier this month, House Bill 637 from Rep. Seth Berglee, R-Joliet, was heard and passed by Republicans on Thursday in the Senate Fish and Game Committee with Democrats opposed.

HB 637 amends several sections of law such as adjusting fees for nonresident hound-handler licenses, eliminating waiting requirements after a purchasing a license to hunt mountain lions or black bears, and allowing game wardens to deal with abandoned vehicles on state lands. The bill contains some more complex changes, including allowing nonresident landowners to pursue mountain lions on their own property and two miles onto adjoining public lands without purchasing a hound-handler license. And the bill appropriates $1 million for pheasant releases onto wildlife management areas.

Read more for the Billings Gazette here...

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