After a long and sometimes heated hearing, the Senate Resources Committee has voted unanimously to forward the wolf control bill, HB 470, to the full Senate, but it’ll go to the 14th Order for amendments. Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, the bill’s sponsor, said an Idaho Attorney General’s opinion pointed out a constitutional problem – if the new Wolf Depredation Control Board existed for more than two years, it’d push the state above its constitutional limit on the number of state agencies of 20. So the bill either had to be amended to place the new board under an existing agency, or it had to be a temporary board lasting for no more than two years. Brackett said he’ll propose an amendment to place the new board under the governor’s office.
The new board would allocate state funds to kill depredating wolves – those that prey on livestock or wild game. Brackett said he hoped the state funds would be a one-time allocation of $2 million, as recommended by Gov. Butch Otter, but he recognizes that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee may decide otherwise. “JFAC’s going to do what JFAC’s going to do,” he said. “I would like $2 million one-time, but we’re told that isn’t going to be happening. Hopefully, it would be in the $400,000 range.”
He noted that $400,000 in ongoing funds, if it lasted for five years, would be the same as putting $2 million in, in the end. “You end up with the $2 million,” Brackett said.