Keep the Idaho Fish and Game Commission Bipartisan

New legislation introduced in Idaho would REMOVE the political affiliation requirement for the seven members of the Idaho Fish & Game Commission, giving the governor the ability to appoint all seven seats to members of one political party. Current rules require that the IDFG Commission have balanced representation by requiring that no political party have more than one additional position than another party. This stipulation is consistent with several other Idaho state agency commissions. HB 514 passed the House on Friday, Feb. 28 with a vote of 48-13 (nine representatives were absent during the vote). During the hearing process in the House, the bill sponsor testified that he sought no input from hunting and angling groups prior to crafting the bill. 

What's next? HB 514 will now move to the Senate Resources & Environment Committee, and Idaho BHA is asking you to voice your OPPOSITION to HB 514. Please fill out the form below and urge the senators on the Resources & Environment Committee to vote NO on HB 514.  Suggested talking points are below.  

In 1938 the state of Idaho created the political affiliation requirement via a citizen’s initiative to depoliticize wildlife management in our great state. If HB 514 were to pass, it would mean that the Governor could appoint a commission of all Republicans or all Democrats. For reference, the Idaho majority party has flipped more than a dozen times in history. Thankfully, the current commission structure provides insulation against dramatic fluctuations in wildlife management policy when the political tides change. Idaho BHA feels that HB 514 would open a very dangerous door that would allow future Idaho Gubernatorial administrations to swiftly and significantly inject politics into the Idaho Fish & Game Commission. In addition to the Idaho BHA chapter, HB 514 is opposed by the Idaho Sportsmen’s Alliance and Idaho Wildlife Federation, both of which are organizations representing a broad spectrum of Idaho hunting, fishing and conservation groups. 

Be sure to include the following in your letter:

  • Include your name and address
  • Mention that you hunt and/or fish in Idaho
  • Be clear that you do NOT support HB 514 and ask for them to VOTE NO on HB 514

Suggested talking points:

  • The original purpose of the Idaho Fish & Game Commission was to remove politics from wildlife management decisions.
  • HB 514 would create a risky situation where dramatic shifts to the commission could occur following a gubernatorial election.
  • There is no guarantee that all future Idaho governors will support hunting and fishing.
  • HB 514 was crafted without input from hunting and angling groups.
  • Other states have seen partisan politics play a significant role in their fish and game commissions with topics such as the scientific foundation of wildlife management, access to our public lands for hunting and fishing, predator hunting, traditional hunting practices, trapping, wildlife migration research, and CWD research.
  • Idaho is experiencing tremendous growth, which makes the state’s political future extremely uncertain.
  • The current IDFG Commission rule has been in place for 82 years and has not created any major conflict thus far.
About Idaho BHA

The Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a group united by a passion to protect and conserve public land forests, mountains, prairies, streams and lakes that support our hunting and angling traditions.

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