The Wyoming House soundly defeated a bill that would have raised many hunting license fees.
The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish said that the increases were needed to pay for budget shortfalls. Laramie Democrat Cathy Connolly said the Game and Fish Department has been asked to take over management of a number of non-game and endangered species and that has driven up costs.
But Jackson Republican Keith Gingery said that in 2005 the Department promised to study the issue and see if there was a solution. Gingery said that never happened.
“Does this let Game and Fish off the hook once again? That Game and Fish really isn’t going to take this seriously and sit down and figure out a solution where we don’t have to keep raising fees for hunters and fishermen to pay for non-game species.”
Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says the Game and Fish Department is a bottomless pit for the Legislature. He argued against giving the Department an increase when other agencies are facing cuts.
“I don’t see out Game and Fish falling apart I don’t see the need for immediate maintenance and I think it’s important to start considering some fiscal discipline, especially in an agency that keeps coming year after year after year asking for increases.”
Lawmakers also argued that an increase might lead to a decline in hunting. The Department had said that without an increase, it would have to consider large budget cuts.