OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission issued a statement today voicing its opposition to a provision of bill being considered in the Washington Legislature that would reduce the commission’s authority.
During a conference call, commissioners unanimously approved a statement objecting to the provision in Senate Bill 5669 that would eliminate their authority to set regulations and to appoint and remove the director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The statement says the provision would “reverse the will of the majority of the people as reflected in Referendum 45.” That referendum, approved by voters in 1995, transferred from the governor to the commission the authority to set policy for WDFW and appoint its director.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor, also expressed concerns about another provision of the bill that would consolidate WDFW with the state Parks and Recreation Commission and state Recreation and Conservation Office.
Commissioners said they are concerned about added administrative burdens that would result from consolidating the agencies into a new Department of Conservation and Recreation. Under the bill, the director of the new agency would be appointed by the governor.